Karachi: Pakistan Railways (PR) Minister Sheikh Rasheed on Monday (May 18) revealed that Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan had approved the resumption of the country’s train services under strict SOPs implementation, according to a news source. The minister said that PR will recommence with nationwide train operations from May 20 (Wednesday) onward.
During the press conference held to make these announcements, Rasheed further informed that the PM had allowed him to operationalise 30 trains in the government’s first of phase of lifting the temporary ban imposed to stop local COVID-19 transmissions. He also remarked that if the situation in terms of the new, reported coronavirus cases was seen to improve, the department will restart more trains by June 1.
Rasheed pointed out that since many people had already moved to their hometowns both before and after the nationwide lockdown imposition in February, there was no rush of passengers, at present; making a ‘complete implementation’ of the SOPs communicated by the federal government possible.
For the implementation of the said SOPs, he stated that an emergency has been declared at the Karachi, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Multan, and Lahore railway stations; where only passengers with valid bookings could enter the premises, while entrance of all other individuals had been banned.
Rasheed also declared that the department had reduced train fares by 60%; despite the measure expected to lead to heavy losses for PR.