The Lahore Transport Company has suggested that the women-only Pink Bus Service be turned into a family bus service for the weekends, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The proposal has been put forward because the First Bus Service, the company that runs the Pink Bus, is not happy with the returns.
Even though it’s been less than a month since the service was launched Pink Bus officials are worried about their daily earnings. Some even blamed the Lahore Transport Company for not doing a good job of marketing the service.
Hamdan Nazir, a First Bus official, told The Express Tribune that the service initially made around Rs1,000 daily per bus per day. “We now make about Rs4,000 per bus daily. On very good days we have sold tickets worth Rs6,000,” he said. Other buses, he said, made an average of Rs12,000 per day. Nazir says that in order to break even a bus, running on CNG, needs to make at least Rs16,000.
When asked about the LTC proposal, the official said that he was not convinced that running the service as a family bus on weekends would make much of a difference.
Another First Bus official said that the low returns were not surprising. He said that the government should offer bigger subsidies to the company to compensate for the loss. He added that despite the low returns the company was not thinking of shutting down the service, at least not yet.
LTC senior manager (Operations) Tanveer Sadiq said that the weekend proposal could help improve business. He said that the First Bus Service had told them that they were thinking of running a separate service for families. He said that the company should not worry too much about direct revenues. “It’s a new idea. It will take some time before women start availing of it,” Sadiq said.
The LTC official also said that they were thinking of advertising the women only service in colleges located on the three routes served by the service. “We are also trying to convince transporters to dedicate three more buses – out of a fleet of 100 that we are expecting soon – for women on other routes,” Sadiq said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2012.
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