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Safety Concerns Rise as Female Students Navigate Peshawar's BRT System

Over the last two months, in September and October, several incidents of pickpocketing were reported in the women's section of the BRT.

by TNN Editor - 17 Oct, 2023 1518
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Zala Nisar

The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in Peshawar is one of the main reasons for the increased mobility of female students. However, the undisciplined behavior of male passengers and the lack of safety measures are restricting young girls from commuting safely on the BRT.

Over the last two months, in September and October, several incidents of pickpocketing were reported in the women's section of the BRT. In response to these incidents, the authorities intensified their surveillance efforts, leading to the arrest of a group of four women involved in stealing valuables, including mobile phones and money, from other female passengers. This raises the question of why women using the BRT are the only ones fearful of being robbed.

To gain more insights into this issue, I reached out to students from the University of Peshawar who frequently commute on the BRT from their homes to the university.

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Momal Khan, a student of the University of Peshawar traveling from the Hayatabad stop to Peshawar University, shares that the main issue faced by women in the BRT is the influx of men into the women's section. Since men significantly outnumber women on the platform, they often enter the women's queues, occupying space designated exclusively for women and children. Khan suggests, "The management should restrict men from using gates and routes designated for females."

Impatience among male passengers is commonly observed at BRT stations. They enter and exit the buses through gates clearly meant for women, taking up space in the women's section. This makes women feel extremely uncomfortable, and the overcrowding creates an environment conducive to pickpocketing. Momal further emphasizes, "Men should be strictly prohibited from crossing into the female section."

The crowded area occupied by men results in discomfort and fear of theft among women on the BRT. Laraib Syed, who commutes daily from Hayatabad, emphasizes the need for more seats for women and suggests, "The labels for male and female seating should be changed because women often have fewer seats available compared to men. This is unfair."

Both students acknowledge the positive impact of the BRT in making their commutes easier. However, they call for additional efforts by the management to enhance safety for female passengers. Implementing strict security measures will provide greater comfort to female passengers, ultimately resulting in fewer incidents of harassment and pickpocketing on the BRT.

(Note: Names have been changed to protect people's privacy.)