Transport remains stalled in Punjab over govt conditions
Buses are seen parked at a bus station in Lahore. AFP
Public transport couldn’t be fully reopened in Punjab because of the differences over the SOPs despite the provincial government allowing the service to reopen after weeks of closure due to the lockdown.
The famous Lorry Adda in Lahore was giving a deserted look as the transporters vowed to continue their strike and said the bus service would remain closed for all cities till their demands were met, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Monday.
But there is a division among the transporters as Insaf Transporters Federation – a group associated with the ruling party started van service for smaller cities and towns.
On Sunday night, they had also operated buses for Islamabad and other cities under the government SOPs.
On the other hand, the transporters at Faizabad – located at the junction of Islamabad and Rawalpindi where many bus operators have their terminals – refused to accept the SOPs, saying they could not bear the cost under the same.
And interestingly, the Islamabad Transport Authority too refused to accept the SOPs defined by Punjab while agreeing with the transporters.
A similar situation was being witnessed in Multan where the passengers had been facing great hardships in an attempt to reunite with their families on Eid, as many people could be seen at the bus stations.
In Gujranwala too, the transporters have refused to reopen the service as they were not ready to accept the SOPs of the Punjab government.
In Hafizabad, the transporters refused to run their vehicles according to the SOPs formulated by the government which, they said, should stop collecting token tax for a year and reduce the rate of toll tax.
Earlier on Saturday, the Punjab government had granted permission to resume inter-city and inter-district transport with a 20 percent reduction in fares. However, the transport companies were directed to fully implement the SOPs, including all passengers, drivers and conductors wearing masks besides ensuring social distancing. It means one of the two adjacent seats would remain vacant.