KABUL (Pajhwok): Women commuters in Kabul say they are tired of the troubled irregular transport system in the city and ask the government to address the issue and resume the milli bus service in all parts of the central capital.
Some women told Pajhwok Afghan News the transport system in Kabul had long been neglected and commuters, especially women, suffered a lot.
Public transport system is still not functional in the city and most of the public transport buses are broken down due to negligence, they say.
Besides countless taxis, a few buses of the municipality and some other private minivans ply Kabul roads as an irregular transport system.
Zarmina, an official of a nongovernmental organization (NGO), said no work could be done in the past two decades to introduce a proper transport system while Kabul had a good functional system in the 70s.
“I remember travelling with my mother at that time, electric buses were available everywhere, the number of taxis was limited, but now majority of the transport system is occupied by taxis,” she said.
“The lack of a proper transport system is affecting women and girls the most. For instance, if I travel to the city alone, the driver tells me that you are alone and I cannot pick you up, if I sit in the front seat, the driver charges me double fare, but if I sit in the back seat, I must pay triple the normal fare. Very limited seats are reserved for ladies in buses and most of the seats are given to men.”
She said recently security officials advised bus drivers not to pick up women if there were no empty seats for them. “We appreciate this move but they should allocate at least three seats for females and men must not sit on ladies seats”, she said.
Zarmina, who is resident of Qala Zaman Khan area, added the only vehicles on the Qala Zaman Khan lane were taxis.
“Qala Zaman Khan residents usually walk for kilometers to find a bus,” she said.
Zarmina urged the government to address the issue of lack of proper and regular transport system and revive the public bus service in all parts of the city.
Madina, a housewife who wanted to take her sick daughter from Kota Sangi area to the Ataturk hospital, said: “I do not travel much in the city, but when I travel, I face many difficulties”.
“When I was a small child, I remember travelling with my mother in the buses. After the civil war broke out, we immigrated to Pakistan and when we returned back to the country, we found out that everything was destroyed,” Madina added.
“Women and girls are the worst sufferers. Every woman wants the government to revive the public transport system”.
Fareshta Ahmadi, a resident of Panjsad Famili area and a worker of an NGO, had similar complaint. She urged the government to take practical steps towards creating a well functional public transport system.
She said most vehicles on the Khair Khana lane were taxis and other vehicles like coasters, vans and buses were found rarely: “Most residents of our area are poor people and taxis charge a higher fare,” She added.
But Ezattullah, a taxi driver who supports his eight-member family, said: “Currently fuel prices are very high. Women do not travel a lot, we must charge each woman sitting in the front seat double fare, otherwise we gain nothing”.
“If the public transport system is revived, the problems of most of residents will be solved, no one will be complaining then”, he said.
ImamuddinAhmadi, Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) spokesman about these complaints, said: “The ministry has created a joint committee comprising representatives of Kabul Municipality and Directorate of Traffic Police, the committee evaluates all problems related to transport system and they will be solved, Insha Allah”.
He said two women should not sit on the front seat because it could annoy them and charging double fare for a single seat was also a violation of the regulations. Te directorate of traffic and MoTCA will work together to address complaints in this regard”.
Saad Omari, head the Milli Bus Company (National Buses) said their company was trying to provide better services to the residents of Kabul city.
“Currently all our buses have two gates, the from door is for men and women use the rear gate, we have also allocated some seats for women in accordance with their number, we have notified all our drivers that no woman should be standing in the corridor of the bus, if a driver commits this violation, he will be interrogated”.
But if there were no female commuters and to avoid income cuts, the drivers allowed men to use ladies’ seats, but if the number of females was high, the drivers could give men’s seats to the females, Omari said.
The Milli Bus Company has a plan to repair all repairable buses next solar year (1402) which will then operate on lanes where they are needed, Omari added.