"Working women and students experience sexual harassment from men working as drivers and conductors or ticket collectors in public transport. Women must either give up working or studying, or face harassment when they have no option but to use the public transport system," said UNOPS Director in Pakistan, Muhammed Haider Reza, at the signing ceremony earlier this month.
With over $1.7 million in funding from the Government of Japan, 14 buses will be bought for the exclusive use of women passengers, and male children under the age of 12. In addition, 30 bus-stops across three cities in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province will be built to give women safer locations from where they can access the bus service. Solar-power will be used to keep each bus-stop well-lit and help women feel safer.
"The women's buses initiative is already getting good responses from the ladies in KPK. They are looking forward to it," said Zubair Asghar Qureshi, Provincial Secretary of the Transport and Mass Transit Department. "The public transport system in other cities will also get a boost."
The Ambassador to Japan, His Excellency Takashi Kurai, agrees: "This project will contribute towards the socio-economic empowerment and development of women by providing them with a safer and affordable means of travel."