| Shristi Kafle |
KATHMANDU (Xinhua) – With the exclusive launching of the first women-only bus services in Nepal this week, women of the capital have breathed a sigh of relief and have become notably at ease with public transportation.
At a time when women are attacked by groping and sexual harassment, as well as other sorts of violence in public vehicles, this new initiative has provided an instant relief to the female passengers, who maintain that this women-only bus service has made them feel respected and special.
“As a student, I need to travel on this route every day, and I often get attacked by the lusty eyes and the unwanted touches from men’s body parts.
“This women-only bus service has helped to get rid of all such abusive acts. It’s like receiving special recognition,” 21-year-old Kabita Pokharel, an undergraduate student at university, told Xinhua inside the bus.
This new service comes into operation after a World Bank survey of 2013, which showed that 26 percent of young women living in Nepal had experienced sexual harassment in public transport in some form.
Since 1990, 683,847 more vehicles have been added in the Bagmati zone and with the rapid urbaniSation and growing migration, the number of cases of violence against women has hit an unprecedented amount, according to local media.
As a result, the local news reports about violent abuse, assault, sexual harassment and rape are always high.
To combat such assaults, Bagmati Federation Transport Union, a private transport agency, initiated this women-only bus concept on its 17-seat fleet and deployed the single-sex carriers along the local Kalanki-Balkot route.
Currently, the service is in operation on only four mini-buses during morning and evening rush hours.
Though the government had launched priority seats for females known as ‘women-only’ seats in every public vehicle, the system has not been effectively implemented.