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“This Is A Positive Step By KP Govt”: Women Welcome Pink Bus Service In Mardan

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MARDAN: Mardan is the second most populated city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) after Peshawar and home to more than 300,000 people. According to the latest national census the ratio of men and women is 49% and 51% respectively.

Since it is a male-dominated society, women in Mardan are mostly not allowed to travel alone or to go out without having a male member of family alongside. But now, beside the inauguration of a women university in Mardan, the KP government, in collaboration with Japan’s government, has launched a bus service for women called Pink Bus Service.

Women have welcomed the project and say it is a good move that will help the local women commute with freedom.

Laraib Athar, a university student, said, “The step taken by the government is highly appreciated and I hope it would be a good experience for women because it is a step towards empowering them”.

“We feel proud that our government has launched such a great project for women commuters and as we saw the buses in Mardan city, we were very happy and now it is time for women to be treated equally with men”, says Iqra Mahzar.

Iqra added that in our society it was difficult for a female to travel in public or local transport because she’d have to face many barriers from every segment of this society.

According to the Pink Bus Service officials, the buses would serve the women from 7am to 10pm and duration of the service might be extended in future.

“This new separate transport facility for women has been launched with 10 buses and it would be an effective step to remove barriers for women”, an official said.

Habiba Iqbal, another student, said that it was great to see this project in Mardan because the harassment against women and especially students in the public transport was quite usual and now by the launching of Pink Bus Service the women would be protected and would travel without fear”.

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Each bus is said to have a seating capacity of 40 passengers. More can stand inside. Beside this an application has also been launched which can trace the location of the bus.

“I just reached university by Pink bus for the first time. I liked everything. Even the behaviour of the female conductor was very positive”, Lubna Aftab said.

She added that the buses were patrolling empty because people did not know much about this project. “Now government should launch an awareness program regarding this project so that more women may utilise the facility”, she added.

Some male students, however, believed that it was discriminatory since there was no all-male buses in Mardan.

The initial plan of the KP government is to have 10 new pink buses on the roads of Mardan for the convenience of female commuters on specified routes.

The project has been admired by people from all walks of life.

Dr Atta ur Rehman, a prominent religious cleric from Mardan, said, “This is a positive step from the KP government because it would allow the women to travel without facing any harassment and government should launch such projects in other cities as well”.

Lecturer Sana Gul said, “It is a very encouraging step and it would empower women in the society because women often face harassment in public transport”.

“I hope women, especially students, would utilise this facility and also ask other friends to do so in order to avoid violence and harassment on the road”, she added.

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