Public transport: a nightmare for women | Pakistan Today

Public transport: a nightmare for women

Despite being equipped with separate ladies’ compartments, travelling on public transport buses has become a nightmare for women due to overloading and harassment issues, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Women office-goers and students are the major sufferers. Bad travelling conditions and a small number of buses on specific routes add insult to injury. Despite the fact that overloading and some other problems are same for men and women, physical and mental harassment, which women face while travelling on buses and wagons add to the gender dimension of the issue. On the other hand, the traffic department seems ignorant of women-specific issues and disregard any special measures calling it general issues of traffic which are already being solved by increasing the number of buses.
Punjab University (PU) student Nazish Gill, who uses route number 33 to travel between her university and home, told Pakistan Today that men often enter the ladies’ compartment during peak hours. “Even conductors do not stop them for standing on the ladies side. If asked to do so, the conductor uses an insulting tone,” she said. New Khan Transport Company Conductor Kashif Iqbal said that school and college students did not listen to them. “They even do not pay the fare and start quarrelling with us” he added. Answering a complaint of a woman standing nearby, Iqbal said that he has two daughters as well and there might be some bad people but all of them were not the same.
Hira Farooq, a teacher in the Educators School, complained of vulgar language which men use while standing near the ladies’ compartment. “They even try to touch you through the grill partition. Once a man started photographing me from the men’s side using his cell phone camera,” Hira complained. Another student Sara Khan, a regular traveller on route number 23, was critical of ticket checkers and conductors. She said, “They walk through the women’s compartment to go to the men’s side instead of using the outside gate.” Medical student Farah suggested a full steel sheet to separate the men and women’s compartments. She also demanded more place for women in buses. Terming it injustice, she said, “There are certain routes where women commuters are equal in number to men but men have double space than women.
The Lahore Transport Company (LTC) must conduct a study to check the number and gender of passengers travelling on a route.” Quratulain, a news channel employee, said that the ladies’ compartment must be behind the men’s compartment to stop frustrated men from staring at females. Showing her anger, she said, “Such men should be sent to some ethics learning classes.” Punjab Transport Secretary Muhammad Yousaf said that their first priority is to increase the number of buses. Passing the buck on the LTC, he said that private companies are not investing in the urban transport sector due to increasing fuel prices and the transport department is tempting them by giving subsidies. Rejecting women commuters’ complaints, he said that the department will check them after completing earlier planned projects.
Speaking on the overloading issue, LTC Enforcement General Manager (GM) Kamran Khan told Pakistan Today, “Presently, we are operating with 60 Traffic Enforcement Officers (TEO) only. They cover the areas of Ferozepur Road, GT Road and Multan Road. One hundred more are under training and those will be allotted duties in the next three to four months.” Talking to Pakistan Today, the LTC public relations officer (PRO) said that presently 350 buses are on the road, which is not enough for a city with a population of more than 10 million. He said that at the end of June, 200 more buses will be added to the fleet. Using the excuse of budget constraints, he said that presently the LTC could not make special provisions for women. LTC Operation and Planning GM Dr Asadur Rehman Gilani was not available for comment.



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One Comment;

  1. sara durrani said:

    this is indeed a very serious issue as m regular traveller. partition n over lading must be noticed seriously.

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