The Regional Transport Authority (RTA), Rawalpindi has put a ban on the only women transport service after its three months of practical implementation. This decision has created anger amongst women and especially working women who are conductors on this transport, they also recorded their protest against this decision in front of RTA offices and demanded to restore this woman savvy and only transport service they have in the country.
This transport services was initiated by public private partner and was primarily financed by Zong and Al-Abrar Associate, a total of 12 wagons were run, divided in two routes: One began from Kohinoor Mills to Soan Bus Terminal, while the second route was from Saddar to Pakistan Secretariat.
This bus service was the first and unique of its kind and was appreciated by people from all walks of life, however, sources said while talking with Dawn, the bus service has to be stopped when the main investors pulled out their funding and the bus service wasn’t able to sustain itself. And RTA wasn’t even able to arrange alternative funding nor did it have funds itself to keep it running.
While another official account was made to the media that the service was cancelled due to road construction for the Metro Bus had decreased the ratio of number of female travelers in public transport. The official figure recorded that 60% seats were occupied by women in March and by May, it had reduced to just 20%.
The reason of this decline is simple, RTA Secretary Awais Manzoor Tarar, said, “the RTA conducted the survey to ascertain the reason for reduction in the number of passengers and found that working women opted for other fast means of transport as their wagon used to move slow on Murree Road due to the construction work.”
The daily expenditures also increased while revenues fell down, prompting RTA to take action against it. And after reviewing all possible actions, RTA has currently cancelled the service for a month because of the project’s potential, it would be restarted again.
The female conductors, who earned in the range of 14,000 to 20,000 rupees, were rendered jobless after their contracts of four months, were cancelled in just three months. The conductors gathered infront of RTA to protest the cancellation.
Many working women who benefited from this service has expressed their displeasure over the cancellation when RTA could’ve shown flexibility towards switching its routes to more profitable ones where Metro Bus work wasn’t causing traffic chaos.