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Pink Bus is the first-ever women-only service in Sindh, not Pakistan

Similar bus services have been previously launched in Lahore, Peshawar and Gilgit-Baltistan

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Claim: The Pink Peoples Bus Service in Karachi, Sindh, is the first women-only bus service in Pakistan. 

Fact: The Pink Bus Service in Sindh is the first women-only bus service in the province, but not the country. The women-only buses were launched in Lahore in 2012, in Peshawar in April 2019 and in Gilgit-Baltistan in October 2022. 

Launched on 1 February 2023, each of the Pink Buses in Karachi can accommodate up to 50 passengers. Initially, eight buses with female hostesses were rolled, running every 20 minutes from 7am to 11am and from 4pm to 9pm daily.

Fact or Fiction?

On 26 January 2023, MM News claimed that the Sindh government will be launching the first women-only bus service in Pakistan.

Pink buses: Sindh govt to launch first women-only bus service in Pakistan,” the headline of the article reads. 

Soch Fact Check found the claim to be misleading. A keyword search on Google turned up articles by Dawn News and Arab News about women-only bus services that have been previously launched in Peshawar and Gilgit-Baltistan.

In January 2012, a local bus company, First Bus Service, launched a female-only bus service in Lahore. The pilot project was inaugurated by PML-N’s Hamza Shahbaz. 

Dawn News published an article on 2 April 2019 about a women-only pink bus service hitting the roads in Mardan district on April 4 after a year-long delay. 

TransPeshawar, an urban mobility company, was tasked to run the pink buses in Peshawar. 

An Arab News article published on 5 October 2022 stated that Pink Bus Service was launched in Gilgit-Baltistan on October 4 2022 to ensure women could avail free and safe transport in the region. 

According to The Guardian, Karachi’s pink buses are the first women-only bus service in Sindh province, contrary to claims that it’s the first of its kind in Pakistan. 

The article stated that Sindh’s pink bus service is Pakistan’s second attempt to introduce public transport for women. The first was launched in Lahore in 2012 as a public-private partnership. The service came to a halt when the government pulled funding in 2014. 

 Virality:

Soch Fact Check found the claim was carried by multiple outlets, including Startup Pakistan, Economy, Pakistan Observer and Pakistan Defence

It can be found here, here, here, here , here, here and here on Twitter.

Conclusion: Sindh’s Pink Bus Service is not the first-ever bus service for women in Pakistan. The women-only buses were launched in Lahore in 2012, in Peshawar in April 2019 and in Gilgit-Baltistan in October 2022.


Background image in cover photo: Usama Tayyab

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