Companies suspended Pakistan operations in March after coronavirus surge
The federal as well as the provincial governments of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have lifted coronavirus lockdowns, bringing some normalcy to life. But the commuters of ride-hailing services SWVL and Airlift have to wait a little longer as the companies are not yet ready to resume operations.
Airlift has told its clients that it has decided to keep operations suspended as “Covid-19 continues to be a threat” despite easing of lockdown restrictions in the country. The company will review the situation in October.
“In our view, traveling in buses is not safe for passengers in the current environment. The situation regarding the pandemic remains uncertain. In other countries, we are seeing subsequent waves,” Airlift said in an email sent to its customers.
“Our decision is to keep our services suspended at least for August and September. On October 1, we will revisit the decision based on the latest information.”
However, the market sources say that Airlift had laid off most of its employees during the lockdown and now it would take them time to be able to resume the bus service operations. The company has started its grocery services in Lahore.
On the other hand, SWVL said they may start their operations soon but didn’t specify any date.
“We have resumed one part of our business, which is inter-city bus service,” said SWVL Pakistan GM Shahzeb Memon. “We will soon be starting our service within city.”
Both, SWVL and Airlift had suspended their operations in March following a spike in coronavirus cases in the country.
Other ride-hailing companies, Careem and Bykea, have also resumed full-scale operations after the government lifted lockdown.