Twelve-year-old Sreerag did not hesitate when the bus he regularly travelled back home stopped in front of him.
Inside the bus, he was perplexed to find only women and girls as passengers and a dozen cameras staring at him. It was only much later and after a couple questions from TV reporters that he knew his favourite bus had turned into a ‘Ladies Only’ from Wednesday onwards.
The first ‘Ladies Only’ bus service in Kozhikode city was inaugurated by District Collector C.A. Latha on Wednesday letting the women in the city heave a heavy sigh of relief.
“It is such a relief. Travelling in crowded buses with men is such a nightmare. We would not have any peace of mind as many men try to molest us in the rush. We could now stop worrying about or daughters going to schools and colleges”, Nabeesa, one of the passengers told The Hindu.
Many women agreed with her and praised the Pantheerankavu unit of the Kozhikode District Bus Operators Association for the new endeavour.
Speeding of buses
The unit had earlier come into news when they put an end to the speeding of buses on the Kozhikode- Pantheerankavu route by reaching an agreement to split their profits at the end of the day.
President of the unit N.V. Abdul Sathar said their main target customers were students and hence, all the six trips were timed during the rush hours. Two trips from Perumanna to city, between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., and four trips in the evening from city to Perumanna from 3.30 p.m. to 5 p.m. will be ‘Ladies Only’.
The first trip of the ‘ladies only’ was by ‘Al Shaba’ from city to Perumanna at 3.50 p.m. It was well received by school girls throughout the route. At Chalappuram, a young girl in the bus stop wondered, “When will such a service start on my route?” Guess the other bus operators are listening.