Minister for Transport and Mass Transit Syed Awais Qadir Shah has given one week’s deadline to the two main app-based ride-hailing services operating in Karachi to get proper route permits from the provincial authorities or their operations could be shut down.
Shah issued the deadline on Monday as he chaired his first meeting with officials of the Sindh Transport Department after assuming the ministerial position last week. The transport minister said that merely a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed some three years back between the Sindh government and these ride-hailing services and since then there had been no further progress to legalese or formalize their operations in Karachi.
He directed the officials concerned of the transport department to immediately write to the management of Uber and Careem giving them the ultimatum of one week to get properly registered with the department in order to avoid complete shutdown of their services.
Similarly, the motorcycle-based ride-hailing services lately launched in the city could meet the same fate as their operators didn’t take any proper permission from the government.
Shah said that the permission of the provincial government was necessary as in any case the government was held responsible in case any untoward incident or accident takes place involving these ride-hailing services operating both four-wheeler and two-wheeler vehicles.
The minister asked the officials concerned to take due action against school buses, vans, and large buses operating on inter-city routes relying on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as their fuel option as since 2015 there has been a ban on such passenger carriers to use CNG cylinders .
He added that the government had lately not allowed any hike in the fares of intra-city public transport running in Karachi, and ordered the department officials to initiate a crackdown against the operators of public transport fleecing passengers after doing undue hike in the fares of coaches, buses, and mini-buses operating in the city.
He said that by all means, the operators of public transport would have to charge old bus fares duly approved by the provincial government. Shah was briefed that presently 8,132 mini-buses were providing public transport services to the people of Karachi on different routes.
He asked the officials to expedite the work on different sections of the proposed Bus Rapid Transit System being built in the city so that citizens have a modern, reliable, inexpensive and speedy mass transit system.