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Miseries of women in public transport: When it will end?

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Mazharul Islam Abir :
Every people have to overcome many obstacles to reach their goals in life. These obstacles are sometimes encouraging for the people to reach their destinations. But if we talk about our daily busy life we can see there are many difficulties we have to face in a regular basis. In Dhaka, people suffer from the difficulty of reaching their destinations. For the shortage of time every people act like a robot. We claim to be human being of our own blood but we are working as mechanical robots. Here people wake up before the sun rises and take preparation for reaching their work destinations in time.
Everyday people fight a battle to get on buses, rickshaws or other transports. In Dhaka, buses are always jam-packed with passengers. Women have to avail the unpleasant journey in spite of being embarrassed for saving time and money. Due to lack of adequate transport for women, they have to board public transports in the same manner like men, that's why we see women have often been abused.
In Bangladesh female education is expanding day by day. It's also increasing women's employment which is comparatively higher in the capital. But most of the organizations don't have individual transport system for every operative; therefore women have to avail common transports like their male colleagues. Due to minimum fare ordinary women use this kind of local services although they suffer several kinds of hardships.
If we talk about a busy place in Dhaka like Science Laboratory or Dhanmondi, we see a huge number of people including women move everyday in these areas. In this route there is only one women bus service which is operated by BRTC (Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation) that plies from Mohammadpur to Motijheel at 8 am and goes from Motijheel to Mohammadpur at 5 pm which is not enough to reduce the suffering of women because thousands of women use this route everyday. So, it's clear that they are compelled to carry out their daily commute with the same difficult circumstance as they are.
BRTC is a semi-autonomous body under the Ministry of Communication. It provides transport services officially. According to BRTC, it has launched the women bus service in 1999 with a double decker bus. In 2009, they lunched another bus service and currently it has 17 buses in 15 routes in which 7 buses are double deckers and 10 buses are single deckers. A study in 2014 reveled that in Dhaka there 57,03,908 female passengers including school and college girls. So, 17 buses are not enough to reduce the transport problem of women. But recently a private agency called "Dolonchapa" has started bus service in the capital only for women. Two AC buses are running from 7 am to 8 pm daily. Initially, the service is running on Motijheel to Azimpur routes. However, the company ensures that they will operate eight more buses in the next two months and this is undoubtedly a good initiative.
"Women are insecure in capital's transportation"- entirely this is not true but this is not worthless too. In daily newspapers, we see many reports which are related to the oppression of women on buses, road sides etc. We also see various kinds of videos in social media in which women are harassed, and at present it happens regularly. Therefore, to facilitate women transport system government should take some effective steps with introducing more women buses on the roads. It would be one of the effective ways to remove the miseries of women in public transport.
The government is keeping their impression of development almost in every area of the country. For getting the solution of women harassment in the public transport, the government should ensure adequate number of women buses. The non-governmental organizations have also a scope to cooperate with the government about the service of women buses. If they come forward positively, the problem can be solved very soon. It is the responsibility of government to provide sufficient transports for women to protect them in the road and to ensure their safe movement.

(Mazharul Islam Abir, a 6th semester 'Bachelor of Education' Hons' student at Teachers' Training College Dhaka, email: maazhar205@gmail.com)

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