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Punjab Transporters Refuse To Resume Operations Despite Easing Of Restrictions

Public transport holders have refused to resume operations even after the provincial government’s move to end the restrictions placed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Empty bus stands disappointed the customers on Monday.

No drivers, conductors or any staff could be seen at the inter-city bus stands, reported Geo News. 

The Punjab government had announced on Sunday that public transport inter-city services could resume functions by reducing the fare by 20% and following the SOPs in question, but that resulted in a protest from the transporters.

The government issued a notification with directives for owners of buses and minibuses, terminals, passengers, drivers and conductors.

According to the notification, air-conditioned buses will have a 20% reduced fare, whereas non-air-conditioned buses will charge 78 paisas per kilometre as opposed to the previous 93 paisas, and social distancing must be observed at all times.

Buses must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after every trip and the bus terminal will have to be sprayed with chlorine frequently.

The notification also said that passengers will have to make use of masks and sanitisers before boarding buses.

Anyone suffering from a high fever or coughing constantly will not be allowed to travel on the bus.

Passengers aged 65 and above will be seated alone with the seat next to them kept vacant.

Drivers and conductors will have to get their temperature checked before every journey.

All Pakistan Public Transport Owners Federation (APPTOF) Chairperson Asmatullah Niazi said that the representatives were not involved in the decision making and hence they will not agree to the regulations.

Any passenger or driver over 50 years of age will not be allowed on the bus, and that is also unacceptable by APPTOF.  

“There’s a 20% cut in fares and now 50% fewer customers […] We have to pay toll taxes, traffic challans from the motorway police, bus stand charges, and various other expenses as well. We cannot run public transport operations with 90% deficit,” Niazi has said.

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