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Public transport returns to Karachi roads, transporters throw away SOPs

KARACHI: Public transport resumed in Karachi on Wednesday after suspension for over two months due to the coronavirus contagion, ARY News reported.

The Sindh government yesterday allowed public transport and online ride-hailing services under the standard operating procedures (SOPs), set by the authorities.

The city has regained its hustle and bustle on roads with return of public transport but it seems the transporters have thrown away the SOPs, agreed with the government.

The condition of availability of hand sanitizers and wearing of masks in vehicles not seemed to be enforced, while social distancing, a key rule to keep the virus away, also  being violated.

The government has set up a monitoring and inspection committee, comprises of transport and revenue officers, to oversee implementation of the SOPs.

The announcement of restoration of public transport on Tuesday came after successful talks between Sindh Transport Minister Owais Shah and transporters who were pressing the government for permission to bring their buses on roads.

Owais Shah said transporters will have to ensure implementation of the government-defined SOPs, including availability of hand sanitizers and wearing of masks in vehicles, otherwise, action will be taken against transporters. Vehicles will not be allowed to carry extra passengers, he cleared.

The minister said only two people will be allowed to sit in a ride-sharing vehicle and three in case of emergency while seat by seat online bus services will be permitted.

It is to mention here that the provincial government a day earlier issued a notification, allowing markets to remain open in the city from 6 am in the morning till 7 pm in the evening. Medical stores and essential items seller can open their businesses 24/7.

The notification also says that if the government finds people breaking rules and not following SOPs then the decisions and leeway given may be reverted. Marriage halls, business centers and expo halls will remain closed while all sorts of sporting activities, grounds and facilities shall also remain under lock and key.



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