COVID-19: Airlift suspends operations, SWVL pauses intercity service

Careem, Uber to continue operations

LAHORE: Ride-sharing services Airlift and SWVL have decided to cut down their operations in Pakistan amid coronavirus (COVID-19) fears.

Airlift on Wednesday announced that it was suspending all operations in Karachi and Lahore until April 6, 2020. In a statement issued to its users, Airlift said the decision to halt bus service operations is taken as an attempt to flatten the curve and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“This decision comes from Airlift’s commitment to putting the safety of its customers, pilots and teammates ahead of other considerations. Our team would like to take this opportunity to advise our passenger community to avoid crowded places, including buses. Crowded places in closed settings create a high-risk environment for contracting the COVID-19 virus. As a responsible organization, Airlift encourages passengers to adopt alternative modes of transport,” the statement reads.

The company said that the pre-booked rides will be refunded automatically.

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On the other hand, SWVL has announced the suspension of intercity bus service from today due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The company’s intra-city bus service will continue as per routine.

“In line with the official announcement made by the government, SWVL is suspending their intercity services from today,” a statement from SWVL said.

Meanwhile, Uber and Careem have confirmed that they will continue their operations across Pakistan for now.

“Safety and well-being of all those who use Careem is our topmost top priority. As of now, we would like to reassure that our services are operational. We are constantly educating customers and captains on ensuring hygiene while using our services. Our COVID-19 Response Team is closely monitoring and following the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and are in touch with local government and public health authorities for any latest developments,” the company said in a to this scribe.

“We are always working to help ensure the safety of everyone on the Uber platform, and we continue to be concerned by the ongoing spread of coronavirus. We have a dedicated global team of Uber operations, security and safety executives, guided by the advice of a consulting public health expert, working to respond as needed in each market where we operate around the world. We remain in close contact with local authorities and will continue to follow their recommendations,” Uber stated.

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Taimoor Hassan
The author is a staff member and can be reached at [email protected]


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