Public transporters flout SOPs as services resume in Karachi
Drivers, conductors and passengers found travelling without face masks in overcrowded buses
KARACHI: After weeks of deliberations, public transport services in Karachi were allowed to be restored on Wednesday.
However, neither the transporters nor the commuters were found to be following the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the provincial government.
Sindh Transport Minister Owais Shah had directed the transporters to ensure adherence to the SOPs issued to protect the public against the coronavirus.
Shah had warned that transport services would be suspended if they were found to be violating the precautionary measures.
Despite the government's orders, drivers, conductors and passengers, all were found travelling without face masks, whereas buses were also overcrowded.
A day earlier, the minister had issued a list of guidelines for online ride-hailing companies, in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.
He said that only two persons would be allowed to travel in a vehicle booked via a ride-hailing company at a time, adding, though, that more persons could be allowed to travel at a time in case of an emergency.
Karachi buses get the green light
On June 1, the Sindh High Court had also directed transporters to consider the report issued by the Sindh government when it came to resuming public transport services in the province, after the Sindh transport and mass transit department revealed that the provincial government had finalised a framework for the purpose.
A two-member bench, comprising Justice Omar Sial and Justice Zulfiqar Ali Sangi, was hearing a plea seeking restrictions on inter-city and intra-city public transport.
The petitioner had contended that reasonable restrictions should be imposed on public transport under Article 9 of the Constitution, in the public interest.
He added that suitable standard operating procedures (SOPs) should be defined in consultation with medical experts, the highway and motorway police, the Sindh police chief and the transport department, adding that passenger buses should run from terminal to terminal.