The Pink Bus Service started to facilitate women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has been shut down, media reports claimed.
The KP government had taken the initiative for commuters in Mardan and Abbottabad districts in 2018. The Japanese government donated 14 pink buses for the cause in early 2018 – seven buses for each district.
KP government had intentions to gradually expand this project to other cities of the province. However, the lack of interest from female commuters has forced the provincial government to shut down the project.
According to sources, the private contractor of the project stopped operating the service earlier this year. The government issued re-tenders five times but no contractor agreed to operate the service due to lack of profit.
The last tender was issued on April 4 last year for Mardan and on May 1 for Abbottabad. The provincial government built 15 bus stops in Abbottabad and more than a dozen in Mardan. However, the bus service was terminated in less than a year.
Sources believe that one of the reasons behind the failure of this service was that men were not allowed to ride in the buses. Therefore, women could not travel with their brothers, fathers, or husbands and had to use other means of transport.
These restrictions kept most passengers away from the service, which could have been a blessing for women of metropolitan cities, and contractors kept amassing losses before refusing to continue.
The officials of Trans Peshawar, however, say that the one-year contract with private contractors had ended in April this year and was not renewed as the country was in complete lockdown. Meanwhile, the buses were shifted to Peshawar for maintenance.
Now, that the lock is over, new contracts will be awarded again and the service will resume soon.