The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government handed over 14 “pink buses” to girls’ institutions throughout the province on Friday, after laboring for more than three years to run the women-only bus service in two districts.
Kamran Khan Bangash, special assistant to the chief minister for higher education, handed over the buses to 11 females’ degree colleges, a commerce college, and Mardan Women University on Friday.
He stated that the higher education department had requested the buses, which had been supplied to ladies’ institutions in Dera Ismail Khan, Mardan, Nowshera, Swabi, and other districts, from Chief Minister Mahmood Khan.
According to the chief minister’s assistant, the vehicles were intended for women-only bus service in Abbottabad and Mardan districts, but the plan fell through, and the buses had been sitting in parking lots for three years.
Mr. Bangash stated that the government has ordered the purchase of 45 buses to be distributed to the girls’ institutions of the amalgamated tribal regions.
The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) provided 14 pink vehicles worth around Rs 100 million to the government in May 2018 for the beginning of a women-only bus service. They were given to the UN agency by the Japanese government.
Numerous bus stations were set up in both districts for the service, but a dispute emerged over the project’s transfer to TransPeshawar, the administrator of Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
In May 2018, the then-chief minister, Pervez Khattak, insisted on using the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), causing a conflict at TransPeshawar. Numerous executives quit, such as the industry’s board chairman, when Khattak fired its CEO for declining to drive the vehicles on BRT lines. However, TransPeshawar delayed beginning the service until May 2019.
The service was discontinued in both areas a few months after it began due to a dispute between the bus operator and TransPeshawar.
Due to cultural differences, the operator stated that ladies preferred to travel with male family members, therefore buses were largely empty.
As per transport and public transit minister Shah Mohammad Khan Wazir, the government had issued contracts to locate bus operators, but transporters were disinterested owing to the pandemic-induced transport sector closure, as well as because a women-only service was regarded as less profitable.
As a result, the transport and public transportation agency decided to cancel the project in February of this year and donate the buses to ladies institutions around the province.