Punjab to reopen public transport, shopping malls

By: News Desk      Published: 02:20 PM, 15 May, 2020
Punjab to reopen public transport, shopping malls

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Friday decided to resume public transport service across the province, which had been suspended after the imposition of the lockdown, sources said.

Meanwhile, the provincial government also decided to open the shopping malls as well as the automobile sector from Monday despite the criticism by some circles over the failure to ensure social distancing at the markets which were previously allowed to start their businesses.

The automobile industrial units will work seven days a week while the markets and dealerships of cars and bikes are to remain open for four days.

Buzdar, however, directed the relevant authorities to formulate SOPs (standard operating procedures) for the purpose so that the service could be resumed safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In this connection, Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat is going to hold a meeting with the transporters after which the details agreed upon by both sides will be shared with the federal government for final approval.

It is worth recalling that Prime Minister Imran Khan was in favour of reopening public transport at the last meeting of National Coordination Committee (NCC) but Sindh and Balochistan opposed the suggestion vehemently. As a result, no consensus could be evolved on the subject.

On the other hand, 24NewsHD TV channel on Friday reported that the lockdown and the resultant suspension of Metro bus service in Lahore had increased the revenue deficit of Punjab Metrobus Authority (PMA) to Rs210.60 million.

On average, a total of 130,000 passengers use the service on daily basis with a daily income of Rs3.9 million and monthly income of Rs117 million.

As a result, both PMA and the private company running the service are facing a severe financial crunch.

Although, there are no operational cost because of service suspension but they still have to pay salaries to their employees.