Airlift, Swvl not being banned, says Sindh transport secy


KARACHI: After rumors started to make rounds on the social media that the Sindh government has decided to ban the application-based private transport services, Airlift and Swvl, provincial Transport Secretary Ghulam Abbas has clarified that services have not been banned and have instead been directed to bring their operations under the ambit of the law.

In a media talk the other day, Abbas said that the private services were operating “without route permits and no-objection certificates”. The transport department was unaware of their pick and drop spots, he said, adding that the two services had not obtained fitness certificates for their vehicles.

“We have issued a notice to them, asking them to brief the authorities about their mechanism and get their systems registered,” he said.

The secretary further said that no one would be allowed to “jeopardize the lives of citizens”.

Meanwhile, Sindh Transport Minister Owais Qadir Shah said that the government wants to provide high-quality transport services to citizens. He added that the online bus services had been permitted to run on a trial basis and a reminder to get certified was issued to them on the completion of their trial period.

“We want Airlift and Swvl to provide superior transport services in Karachi,” he added.

Speaking of the government’s initiatives in this regard, Shah said, “We are encouraging private investment in the transport sector and the Sindh government is also trying to bring in buses. However, the government is unable to implement its bus project immediately because it requires a heavy budget.”

“We held talks with both online van services and asked them to get route permits and fitness certificates as per the motor vehicle laws within the stipulated time. Since that time has ended, we have just sent them a soft reminder which unfortunately is being misinterpreted.”

The minister said that the provincial government was contemplating to introduce legislation for online van and taxi services. He expressed his hopes that the proposed legislation would be taken up in the forthcoming meeting of the provincial cabinet.

Sindh government’s spokesperson Murtaza Wahab also dismissed the reports.

In a tweet on Sunday, Wahab said: “The news of banning SWVL & Airlift is incorrect. [On] the contrary, [the] Sindh Government is in the process of introducing a law regulating these private enterprises after consulting all stakeholders.”