ISLAMABAD - The Pink Bus service started by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in Mardan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has failed to gain the expected popularity among women and females students in Mardan.

Sources in Pink Bus Management told The Nation that this project was launched without any proper planning that is why it did not gain the popularity in the city.

They further revealed that initially this project was designed for the Peshawar city in order to facilitate the female students of schools, colleges and universities in the city, but as the KP government introduced BRT, this projected was moved to Mardan and Abbotabad.

The sources further said that these buses were formally handed over to the provincial government in May 2108, and have been parked at a bus stand at Peshawar for several months due to the lack of planning.

The sources elaborated that this project was twice inaugurated by former chief minister Parvez Khattak and later on by Governor KP Shah Farman.

Talking to The Nation, Wajid Ali, an official of Pink Bus service, said that it was a tough job for them to make this project a success in a city like Mardan as people of that city were less aware of its importance.

He added that they were working on different ideas to make this project a successful one and convince the women population to use this facility as it is exclusively for women.

He elaborated that the government was thinking to make it a family bus rather than a female bus only because women in Mardan are not supposed to come out of their homes alone.

The KP government and Mass Transit Department had launched ‘Sakura Women Bus Service’ or Pink Bus service worth of $1.79 million with the financial assistance of Government of Japan with the technical implementing partnership of UNOPS and UN women. According to the sources, many complaints regarding allowing the male passengers to use the pink buses have also been reported in Mardan.

The aim of this project was to ensure the provision of safe, cheap, reliable, and harassment-free journey for women travellers as the ratio of women harassment in public transport was on the rise.