Rawalpindi: Pakistan now finally has succeeded to begin a women-only bus service named which has been welcomed by overall society of the country.
At 7:15 am on a dusty street corner in Rawalpindi, among the dozen rickety minibuses jostling for passengers, a brand-new, bright pink vehicle stands out.
Emblazoned with the words “Ladies Transport”, this is Pakistan’s first commuter bus solely for women, aimed at those sick of wandering hands and unwanted attention on regular services.
Sat on one of the minibus’s four banquette seats, Azra Kamal, who works at an electronics shop, welcomes the new project, named “Tabeer” — “fulfilment of a dream” in Urdu.
Today the 21-year-old proudly wears a pink tunic, the uniform of her job as conductor on the women’s bus, as she collects the 30-rupee (30-US cent) fare.
The man behind the project, Ali Naqi Hamdani, says it is empowering women in a society where many are not permitted to leave the house without male accompaniment.
“The women here are willing to go out to work, they’re willing to go out for education purposes but they don’t have such a conducive situation where they can feel secure in public transport,” he said.
“So it was very important that you provide them an environment where they step out of their homes, they feel secure before they reach their universities or their offices so they are encouraged to come out.”
The Tabeer project has been running for three weeks, with 12 vehicles in the capital, and is hoping to expand to other cities if there is enough demand.
Sana is already dreaming of moving on to drive the bus — for a shortage of female drivers means that currently the women-only bus has a man behind the wheel.