People start leaving for their hometowns as transport service resumes


Zubair Qureshi

People of other cities living in Islamabad for work or job are heading towards their native towns as Eidul Fitr is only two days away. The number of those leaving the city suddenly increased on Friday and one could see families and individuals making a beeline to various bus terminals to catch the bus bound for their home.
The capital administration has lifted the ban on intra- and inter-city transport and allowed them to resume their services by following standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The administration also issued SOPs for passenger vehicles, including ride hailing services and transport network companies, as well as passengers. Anyone violating the SOPs will be fined and the vehicle impounded.
Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat while talking to Pakistan Observer on Friday said the transport was allowed to operate keeping in view the needs of the citizens who were facing hardship.
A notification issued from the office of the DC said the government had decided to allow resumption of intra-city and inter-city transport operations, non-AC vehicles only, to cope with the transportation needs of general public with strict observance of the approved SOPs and reduced transport fares.
Non-AC public transport fares will be reduced in line with the rates notified by the government of Punjab on May 17, it said. Moreover, passengers would be seated in the sequence where one seat would be kept vacant, each on left and right, in front and on back of a passenger.
No standing passengers will be allowed to travel it further said adding all public service vehicles and contract carriers must observe physical distancing. A social distance of three feet while boarding and alighting the vehicle would be maintained.
In case of two-door vehicles, allow the rear door for boarding and front door for alighting of passengers wherever available to avoid physical contact between them. In case of single-door vehicle, allow passengers to alight first and then board the passengers.
Windows should remain open for ventilation and vehicles should be disinfected on a regular basis, it further said.
According to the SOPs, the bus terminals should ensure parking locations, crowd management by deploying additional staff and marking positions. All passengers should be scanned through thermal guns while entering the stands/terminals.
Daily disinfection of the terminals will be carried out in the evening and the terminal management shall ensure hand-washing facility with provision of soap, hand sanitizers.
Only route permit-holder vehicles shall be allowed to operate. The buses should stop at a minimum distance of five metres from each other at marked locations to avoid crowding of passengers. Crowd management should be maintained by deploying additions staff.
A first aid box should be available for use by patients developing fever during travel and the crew should be briefed and trained about the SOPs and safety precautions by the terminal management.
All drivers and other staff should have their temperatures checked before taking up their duty on a daily basis and use masks and gloves. Physical contact between staff and passengers should be avoided.


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