Karachiites hail resumption of public transport

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The city residents were largely relieved finding buses and wagons on roadson Wednesday as this not only helped them avoid unnecessary delay to reach their workplace but was also light on their pockets. The government had allowed the facility after a lull of more than two months but with strict conditions regarding implementation of SOPs encompassing mandatory use of face masks by commuters, conductors and the drivers besides proper distancing and ready availability of sanitizers in every vehicle. It was definitely a pleasant surprise for many but there was also no dearth of people who were more concerned about not missing the bus to their respective destination with little realization about their mutual responsibility to avert any possible risk. “I was glad to see that conductors, against the practice ensured that buses are not overloaded and that passengers were helped to keep proper distance from each other,” said Amina a domestic help. The women with her residence in New Sabzi Mandi vicinity and workplace being Hasan Square had been previously compelled to travel on a rickshaw shared by no less than four to five at a time. “I knew the risk sitting very close to other women and although used faced mask but was scared,” she said hinting that fare was also on higher side – more than double to what she is paying for a bus journey. Ashad Ali, a senior transporter said adherence to SOPs ought to significantly add to the expenditure in running the bus and wagon services, however, realizing their relevance in protecting people against the Covid-19 pandemic the cost seem to be irrelevant. According to him all stakeholders need to accept ground reality, particularly that large majority of commuters are little positioned to realize intensity of the situation and even if they do understand they find themselves unable to follow rules. “There had been dearth of large size vehicles (omni buses) in Karachi for quite some time and despite the fact that they provided masses affordable means of transportation little effort was made by the government to address the situation,” he complained. In the given situation, the transporter said it should not have been of any surprise to see people getting desperate to have some space in the vehicle and simply refusing to follow the instructions of conductors.