KATHMANDU: With buses and microbuses crammed to the overflowing with people, travelling by public transport in the Valley is a pain most of the time. But if one does not have one’s own mode of transportation, one is compelled to hold tight on to the railings or the seat backs and hang on for dear life till one reaches one’s destination.

It is specially more difficult for female passengers. Apart from having to make a space for one’s self in such over-crowded vehicles, she also very often has to face uncivilised and obscene behaviour from ill-mannered fellow passengers.


For Kirtipur ladies


“If only there was a ‘for females only’ vehicle.” How many of you might have wished for this?

Well, for the commuters in the Kirtipur area, this wish has come true as the Kirtipur Minibus Entrepreneur Association (KMEA) has introduced three ‘ladies-only’ microbuses from September 6. So travelling on the Kirtipur-Old Buspark route has become more convenient for many women who have to use this route to and fro from their work and otherwise.

At present the ladies-only micros operate for certain hours in the day — from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, and then from 4:00 pm till late in the evening. The only thing that has not changed

in these buses are the drivers and helpers

who are males. Though the passengers feel it would have been better if the drivers and helpers had also been women, they have no complaints with the present arrangement.


It’s a big

comfort


“The ladies only micros are a big comfort for women passengers,” said Mina Deula, a working woman from Kirtipur, expressing her gratitude to the KMEA and urged other transport traders to follow suit on other routes as well.

She said that the worst part of travelling in a general micro is “holding a baby in one hand while trying to stand in the overcrowded vehicle”. Deula is happy she does not have to face this anymore.

Students Roshani Bhattarai and Sujana Poudel have been travelling regularly in these vehicles ever since the service came into operation. Much relieved by this new service, they both said that the allocation of a few number of seats for women in general micros was of no use as it was hardly followed by any vehicle.

“We feel really happy to travel by these special micros as it has given us relief from congested micros and uncomfortable journey,” they said.


Safe and

convenient


Deula, who lost a mobile phone a few weeks ago while travelling in a general micro, says she feels secure travelling in the ladies special.

In her opinion, such micros should run throughout the day instead of just certain hours since women face problems while travelling any time of the day.

“These vehicles have also given the women relief from eve teasing and other misbehaviours,” said Bhattarai and Poudel.

Sita Dahal even plans her travel time according to the ladies special schedule. “Women travelling on this route are no longer compelled to stand in a crowd of men and need not worry about being dashed from any side,”she said adding “The environment inside the vehicle is pleasant — all the women happily seated. Moreover, when these micros get over crowded, women don’t feel uncomfortable standing.”

For Dahal, who sells candles and exchanges coins at the Kirtipur microbus station, these specials have come as a blessing for her business. “Carrying loads of coins and candles is no longer as bothersome as it used to be,” she added.

She urged that women should make good use of this special provision “especially, young women have to realise that ladies only micro is allocated for their convenience and they should make wise use of it”.


Even drivers

are happy


The pleasant experience of these ladies is shared by the drivers too. Stating that it’s “interesting” to drive a women-only micro, Aite Singh Negi said, “It makes me proud as I feel that at least I am able to serve these sisters and mothers by providing them a comfortable ride.”

He also said that women passengers are “more disciplined and well-mannered and thus there are no disturbing complaints while driving”.

“We are happy to be able to provide the women a comfortable journey,” said KMEA Secretary Maheswor Maharjan stating that the association felt the need of ladies only micros when they saw many women passengers facing difficulties to get into the vehicles during office hours.

“We are getting positive feedback from the passengers,” he added.

This positive feedback has proven to be a big encouragement for the association, which is planning to run this special service throughout the day. Besides this, the association is also planning to run more such special services for students. They are also planning to make special provisions in order to let elderly citizens travel for free.


Kudos to them.