LAHORE: The female commuters have demanded the increasing the number three women-only ‘Pink’ buses presently plying in the provincial capital.
The Punjab government under private public partnership had launched Pink Bus Service to cater to needs of women on three routes: route No. 22 (Thokar Niaz Baig to Jallo Park), route No. 1 (R.A Bazaar to Sanda) and route No. 33 (From Green Town to Railway Station).
Talking to PPI, many passengers, particularly the students said this service had brought an end to the humiliation they used to face every day while travelling in the public buses, which were too little in number to facilitate hundreds of thousands female commuters.
Madiha Shah, a second year student of the Punjab University, said only one bus plying on route 22 was not enough to cater to the needs of thousands of students visiting the varsity daily basis.
“One bus makes nearly three to four trips daily, but it is already packed with the passengers. So, we often miss this bus and have to travel in other buses having very little space allocated for the ladies as compared to the gents,” she added.
Currently, the Pink buses have no facility of drinking water, air-condition, etc.
Still majority of the female commuters remarked that it was not less than a blessing for them to travel comfortably without feeling harassed by the ‘wooers’ who often harass them in the public transport.
Fouzia Jamil, a student of Apwa College for Women, this was the only service ever done practically by the government against the political rhetoric used by the politicians to seek support from the women, who form half of the country’s population.
“The government should focus on widening the network of the Pink Bus Service to rest of the second largest city of the country, where half of the 12 million populations are women,” she argued.
The bus operator company said the fate of this women-only transport service was subject to profit earning.
Huma Daha, the Manager (Operations and Planning) of the LTC, said the service was launched as a pilot project, adding more buses could be inducted to the fleet only if it would contribute significant profit to the company
She said the company was keen to further improve the service by inducting more vehicles and turn it into family bus service.
“Even, we plan to train the women as drivers to run these vehicles, but it all depends upon the viability of the project. If, more passengers would use it, we will definitely be inducted more vehicles, but no business means the service would continue with same number of three buses,” he declared.
MNA Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, at the time of launch of the bus service, had promised the Punjab government would ensure widening the scope of this service to provide separate and convenient transportation facility to the women once the idea would make success.
On the other hand, the female commuters urged the Punjab government to patronize this facility by providing resources generously so that this only facility may continue in future.