The Lahore Transport Company is set to re-launch its Pink Bus Service (for women) on two of the three routes that went out of service last year, LTC General Manager Faisal Naseer has said.
Three bus operators had started running a pink bus each on three routes in January 2012. However, not many women travelled on these buses and the operators complained of losses. Two of the three buses stopped plying the routes in 2013 and the third was assigned a different route.
The service was introduced on three routes: The First Bus Service company operated a bus on B-1 route (RA Bazaar to Sanda via The Mall), Askar on B-22 route (Thokar Niaz Baig to Jallo Mor via Canal Road) and Makks Metro on B-33 (City railway station to Bagrian).
In 2013, the service was discontinued on B-22 and B-33. The bus on B-1 was re-routed to B-12 (City railway station to RA Bazaar). The LTC is now in talks with Platform to run a pink bus on B-22 route and with PakOz for a bus on B-33. The companies already operate buses on these routes.
An LTC official, who was not authorised to speak on the matter, said that running one bus on a route is no use. He said the fact that these buses can only make one round during rush hours meant that if a passenger missed a bus, there was no pink bus to expect for hours.
He said the second problem was that each bus made three or four rounds each day between 7am to 9am, 12pm to 2pm and 4pm to 6pm. They would be docked in parking lots for the rest of the time. If the buses were not painted pink they could be used as regular buses at other times as well, he said.
Lahore Transport Company Manager Faisal Naseer said if the buses were not pink, people wouldn’t know they were exclusively for women.
He said that the LTC realised that the buses were not financially viable, therefore operators will be given subsidy to run the business. He said the subsidy would be determined after a third party assessment.
He said the LTC was also considering the idea of operating vans for women. Naseer said transporters operating fleets of Mazda vans in the city could be approached for this purpose.
First Bus Service General Manager Maqsoodul Haq said a standard bus on the B-12 route generated around Rs12,000 each day whereas a pink bus generated only Rs900. He said in the case of regular buses, if a woman missed a bus, she would know that another would arrive in a few minutes. He said it took three hours for a bus to complete a 50 Km round. Each bus makes just one trip during three rush periods, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2014.
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