Women waiting for their pink bus service in KP

Author: Saba Rehman

This was the promise of KP government but in reality until now there
is no pink bus service, women and many young girls of KP are still
waiting for this service to start. Provincial government had made a
promise to initiate the service for which buses have been bought.
The government had promised that Pink bus service will be especially
just for women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. This
service was initially started for three main cities of the province,
Abbottabad, Mardan and Capital city Peshawar, which have a 50% & 48%
women population.
The Japan government handed over 14 special pink buses for women to
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak on Friday 11 may
2018. A ceremony in this regard was organized at the Chief Minister
House where Japan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Takashi Kurai handed over
the keys of the 14 buses to the chief minister. Out of these buses,
seven will be run in Mardan and seven will be run in Abbottabad for
women transport. Each bus has a capacity of 40 seats for women’s but
passengers can also stand in the bus as they travel.
Fourteen women-only buses donated by the United Nations Office for
Project Services (UNOPS) for Abbottabad and Mardan are non-operational
for the past two months, a local media outlet reported on July 2018.
This service aims to provide basic facilities to women of the area
because there was no special seat arrangement for ladies in local
transport. Due to this majority of women stay away from public
transport because of lack of security on busses and bus stops.KP mass
transits department has launched this all women buses to facilitate
the women and government promised that this bus service will be
especially for ladies in which they will travel easily and
independently that also committed that
“Smart phone application will be launched also and this will help
women track the route of these buses easily and they don’t have to
wait so long at bus stops. Due to this app women will also be able to
stay connected with the concern authorities”
Pink bus service was supposed to have women conductors because in this
conservative society usually women are not allowed to travel alone
without their family male.
Ayesha Nadeem a young student studying in Peshawar expressed her views
regarding pink bus service that
“At first when I came to know about the service, I was excited and
happy that finally females can now travel with peace. As in local
buses, they have to face harassment and many bullies; this pink bus
project was a good hope. A bus for girls with a female staff is always
a good sign. As far as its delay is concerned, I expect from our
government to soon start that project so those girls who can’t afford
a private conveyance can too travel safely and peacefully”
Maham ijaz said that,
“I really was in favor of this pink bus service cause it was a great
help to those girls who travels by local transport and all I can say
is it must be delayed due to some technical problems and the
government should take an immediate step to start this service as soon
as possible.
Another girl from Mardan name Mashal farid said that,
When Pink Bus services were announced to be started, we; college girls
had an actual sigh of relief that now traveling via local transport
would be easy for us. This would save many from praying eyes,
harassment issues and stealing off course. But then it got delayed and
now it’s no sign of what we actually expected. This was a great
project idea by the government and we were really looking forward to
it. Now that there’s no sign of it, we hope that the government pay
attention to this matter and grant ease to college girls and working
women with regard to safe travelling”
Nowadays pink bus service gathering dust in Peshawar because until now
it is not started and women are waiting desperately. Ministry of
transport is nowadays run by Chief Minister KP and after trying hard
to reach him to get his statement regarding the issue, but could not
get through.

When contacted, a senior manager transport department, Peshawar Bus
Terminal , Shakeel Anwar khan said about this service delay that
“It’s late because no one shown their interest in this pink bus
service as yet. The reason behind that is still unknown. These buses
can only be operated when their service is outsourced to any of the
contractors who is really interested in.Pink service delay is because
the lack of interest of the contractors who first tried for and
reverted then.

Author : Saba Rehman

Twitter: @SabaRehman88
Saba Rehman,the only female photojournalist in (Pakhtunkhwa Province & Tribal Areas of Pakistan).
Currently she contributes for BBC, AP, TRT World, Aljazeera English, Arab News & Next tv USA.