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Pakistani Women Lose Their Pink Bus

The pink bus, a women-only bus service, was introduced in Pakistan just two years ago.

INDONESIA

Senin, 05 Mei 2014 17:55 WIB

Pakistani Women Lose Their Pink Bus

Pakistan, Pink Bus, women only bus, crimes against women, Shadi Khan Saif & Naeem Sahotara

During rush hour, grabbing a bus to the office is a difficult task for 22-year-old Sanober.

“I usually have to wait for an hour for the bus. While I’m waiting at the bus stop, all sorts of people give me strange looks… as if they’re asking me, why are you standing here for so long?”

In Pakistan, women usually find it hard to find a space in crowded public buses… even in the ladies section.

Even when they do, they have to face harassment by male passengers.

“There are men all over the buses, on top of it, inside the bus… some are trying to touch and grab women!”

But two years ago all that changed when a private bus company in Punjab launched a female-only bus service, known as the pink bus.

It aims to offer women harassment-free travel.



The Lahore Transport Company started with three buses and promised to raise the number to 50.

The company claimed the pink buses were operating successfully on different city routes and the number of buses would gradually be increased.

But these days, 55-year-old mother of two Bilqees, says there is little sign of the buses..

“I’m a working woman. I never see any pink buses on the streets. There should be dedicated buses for women because so many women and girls have to come from far away, from smaller cities, every day to Lahore.”

For housewife Mehnaz, this has meant having to take taxis instead.

“Private cabs charge very high prices. We could’ve saved some money travelling with these buses, but no more savings these days.”

Just a few months after the pink bus was launched, the bus company was reluctant to continue the service for financial reasons.

And recently they stopped running many of the routes…

“Only one service so far has survived. In the future, we can only continue if the government provides financial subsidies. Otherwise, it’s difficult to keep going,” says Azhar Javed, the project manager for the pink bus service at Lahore Transport Company.

A Government officer, who doesn’t want to be named, adds that the service was not financially successful so no other private bus operators are interested.

Until the government steps in, Pakistani women will have to go back to struggling for space on the crowded buses…



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