Ride-hailing services operating in Karachi appeared to be confused on Sunday as the Sindh government announced a lockdown in the province to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Uber said it had advised its captains to follow the government instructions and limit “rides to necessary and emergency cases only”. Careem said the same of its operations in Karachi.
SWVL, on the other hand, has temporarily suspended its operations.
Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shalwani said that no exceptions would be given to any ride-hailing service.
Asked about those operating in emergencies, he said, “If the people found on roads could establish their purposes, then we’ll let them go.”
However, South Deputy Commissioner Irshad Ali said if they let one person off with the exception, then they would have to let everyone go. “So the rule is the same for everyone,” Ali said.
At least two of the ride-hailing services said the South DC earlier sought to outsource their services to charitable organisations.
However, the South deputy commissioner said the suggestion was under consideration but “it’s not anymore”.
On the other hand, Regional Transport Authority Secretary Nazeer Hussain said they would allow some exceptions with online transport services.
SWVL’s spokesperson Shahzaib Memon said they had only suspended their operations in Karachi. “We’re waiting for developments with regard to our Lahore and Islamabad operations.”
Ride-hailing services in Karachi are availed by a number of people ranging from private and public employees to students.
The lockdown announced by the Sindh government applies to everyone except those who can establish the necessity of their travel.
It took effect from 12am March 23, Monday.