LAHORE: The Punjab Mass-Transit Authority’s (PMA) deficit has reached Rs375 million due to the closure of metro bus service for 105 days while no decision has been taken to restore the service by the government so far, Pakistan Today learnt on Wednesday.
Sources in the PMA believe that a one-day shutdown of metro bus causes a loss of Rs3.6 million.
Sources said that the Punjab government had also cut subsidy of PMA by Rs1 billion.
Sources further said that the fourth quarter’s funds were not fully released in the last fiscal year (2019-2020) and due to non-issuance of funds, there have been problems in payment to contractors.
Sources lamented that the government’s policies were beyond understanding. The government has allowed intra-city and inter-city transport to operate but has not yet restored metro bus service.
Sources said that an average of 130,000 commuters were benefiting from the metro bus service daily. The authority is currently facing the worst financial crisis. No strategy has been formulated to restore the financial damages nor has it been decided how the foreign company which is operating the metro bus will be supported.
It is pertinent to mention here that due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the Punjab government had decided to close Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan metro bus service in March. However, local transporters were later allowed to operate inter and intra bus service with SOPs, while the metro bus service is still closed.
The sources in Punjab government claimed that the metro bus service was a white elephant whereas the service had been subsidized by the previous government but it was very difficult for the present government to subsidize the bus service further.
PMA GM Operations Uzair Shah said, “The decision to reactivate the metro bus service will be taken by the Punjab government whereas no order has come from the government yet. The authority is facing problems due to non-receipt of subsidy.” Uzair also requested the government to release funds.