RAWALPINDI: Metro bus drivers on Thursday shut the service between Rawalpindi and Islamabad for an hour against non-payment of salaries for five months.

The service remained suspended from 1:40pm to 2:45pm. about 100,000 to 110,000 passengers daily use the metro bus service between the twin cities.

A shortage of public transport was seen, especially at the closing hours of offices and schools.

People arrived at the metro bus stations but the staff refused to issue them tickets.

The drivers wanted an assurance from the provincial government to pay their outstanding dues and stop the private company operating the service from deducting fines from their salaries.

The drivers parked their buses at the main bus terminal at Pakistan Secretariat Islamabad and threatened of stopping the service on a permanent basis if the Punjab government failed to release their salaries.

An official of the Punjab Mass Transit Authority (PMA) said a private company was dealing with the drivers and other employees.

The PMA has made it clear that there would be no hurdle in the smooth operation of the bus service.

He said if the bus service was suspended for more than an hour, the PMA would collect fines from the company.

He said the PMA had directed the private company to solve the problem as soon as possible, adding talks were ongoing with drivers’ representatives.

Mohammad Nasir, a driver, said they had not been paid salaries for the last five months.

He said the drivers observed a strike for an hour and after assurance to solve the matter in the coming week resumed their duties.

He said the drivers had asked the management to clear their dues as soon as possible.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2019