Popular bus-sharing service Swvl announced on Thursday that it would be “pausing” daily rides within Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Faisalabad from Friday (June 3) “in light of the global economic downturn”.

In a notification sent to app users, the service said that Swvl Travel (city-to-city) and Swvl Business (business-to-business) would remain fully operational.

The company went on to say that it had started its journey in July 2019, driven by the mission of “solving a major problem that all of us face and live in every day”.

A screenshot of the alert Swvl sent to its users.
A screenshot of the alert Swvl sent to its users.

“Swvl promised that having reliable, comfortable and affordable means of transportation is not something fictional. We believed that every Pakistani should have this right, the right to commute safely every day,” the notification said.

The announcement comes as the government has increased the prices of petroleum products by Rs30 per litre in a move aimed at placating the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an economic bailout.

In addition, inflation during the month of May rose to a nearly two-and-a-half-year-high at 13.76 per cent, on the back of increasing transport and food prices. Inflation accelerated from 13.37pc year-on-year (YoY) in April, marking a 0.44pc month-on-month (MoM) rise in May.

Airlift, which began as a bus-hailing service, had also suspended operations during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company has since changed their business models to focus on grocery delivery operations in Pakistani cities.

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