A trip in Karachi’s Pink Bus

0
669

Few things in Karachi have caused such ripples and created such joy and delight in women as the recently launched Pink People’s Bus Service, which was inaugurated on February 1.

Women of Karachi, who often cite transport woes as one of the biggest challenges they face, received the news of women-only bus service as a belated new year’s gift from the Sindh government.

As I hailed the bus for a ride, I was overcome with exuberance. Every woman and girl on the bus smiled bright and wide, joy and confidence reflecting on each smiling face.

Trailing along the road, the bright pink colour of the bus stood out amongst the drab and darker colours of Karachi’s dusty traffic.

Smiling brightly, women welcomed women on board the pink bus during her first day around the city of vibrant lights.

As our journey began, we experienced a number of incidents that a woman travelling in buses in Karachi can only dream of.

For once, as the bus pulled up, women rushed to board it, while men were waiting for their own rides to show up.

Then, not long after, the bus came across a middle-aged man. The poor gent seemed unaware of the launch of the women-only bus and as the bus pulled up at the stop, he clamoured forwards, only to find that the bus was off-limits for him. The best part? He didn’t seem angry or offended, rather he suppressed a chagrined smile and waved us off.

Lowered gazes

The true glory of the all-femme ride was best exhibited by the fact that wherever she passed, men lowered their gaze. In the safety of the bus, surrounded by women, it seemed that being stared at by men was almost a thing of the past. For once, there were no uncomfortable stares or jeers.

Women from various walks of life were on board the bus. Many were students of various universities; many were working women. All had some interesting insights to add to interesting conversations.

‘No objection to male drivers’

Asked whether they had any objection to the bus being driven by a male driver, women said that they had no issue with a male driver.

A lady quipped in, “we are happy though that the fare collector is a woman.”

‘Bumping into women’

While the list of the perks of an all-women bus seems endless, a female passenger, recalling her previous experience, added a very interesting benefit to the list.

“The best thing about this bus is that if there is a jolt during the journey, women will fall on top of women — not men!”

There is no denying that just one day into the launch of the bus, women feel radically more confident and comfortable. Whether they travel sitting or standing, they feel far safer and more satisfied surrounded by women.

Emphasis on more pink buses and routes

The very day after the inauguration, women have begun to push for an increase in the number and routes of pink buses.

“We want to have the privilege of travelling everywhere by ourselves, without disturbing our brothers, and husbands,” one lady said.