Travellers can avail of free-of-charge rides in the first week. Image Credit: Sindh government

Karachi: The Sindh government has launched women-only ‘Pink’ buses in Karachi, hiring female hostesses for the first time in any intra-city commuter service in Pakistan.

Sindh Information and Transport Minister, Sharjeel Inam Memon, along with female legislators and distinguished women from different walks of life, including Oscar-winning filmmaker, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, launched the service at the garden of Karachi’s historical Frere Hall.

The minister announced that the service would be free-of-charge in the first week of its launch till February 7. He announced that in one month’s time, woman drivers would be hired for the new service.

He noted that women in the country had already been flying fighter jets and driving dump trucks in the coal mining operations in the Thar desert.

Female bus hostesses have been serving on inter-city buses in Pakistan for a long whereas, for the first time, the same concept has been introduced in the case of intra-city buses in Karachi.

Initially, eight fully air-conditioned buses with a length of nine metres have been introduced with automated doors, cellular phone charging facility, electric doorbell for halting the bus, and space reserved for differently-abled passengers.

Each of these buses could accommodate up to 50 passengers. The buses will be available every 20 minutes from 7am to 11am and from 4pm to 9pm daily.

Memon said that more Pink buses would be launched on different routes in Karachi and other urban centres of Sindh. He said that apart from Pink buses, seats had been reserved for woman passengers in all new commuter services being launched in Karachi including newly launched electric buses.

He told the audience that the new service reflected the vision of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) whose manifesto stands for woman empowerment.

He said the past governments of the PPP under the same concept launched First Women Bank Ltd, women police stations, Benazir Income Support Programme, and allotted farmlands to woman growers in the country.