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This story, I am sharing today is to make myself and everyone realize that how we all are habitual of being treated unfairly many times and we do not raise our voice.
I was on my way to Lahore (my hometown) by the most famous bus service in the country on Saturday, December 24th, 2016. I always prefer to travel in the day but I got stuck in traffic near Rawalpindi due to which I missed the bus I actually planned to go for. I asked for the next bus and I was informed that it is on 5:30 pm.
I had my packed bags all the way from the area I live in and it seemed difficult to go back so I thought it is fine because I was already late. The journey kicked off and when we reached Bhera we were being told that the stay will be longer than usual because the motorway is closed.
After an hour, around 9:30 pm -10:00 pm, I asked the bus driver and bus hostess if they have any idea when will we leave. Bus driver replied, ’11 in the morning.” I thought he has mistakenly said 11 ‘in the morning.’ I asked again, ‘sorry, when? 11 pm?’ He said, ‘No, 10-11 in the morning, tomorrow.’ Me: ‘Where should we go?’ Driver: ‘To any cafe in Bhera. Buses are going to be locked.’
After having a cup of tea, I went outside again but there was no one. I thought they might have a partnership with the restaurants. I went to a tea shop with a girl who was with me on the bus. After some time the staff in the cafe said that it is 12 am and we all need to leave the cafe and I was like, ‘what?’ I asked if there is any policy/contract or something for the people who are stuck here? He said, ‘No. We are not responsible and we don’t know.’
I had no idea what to do. There were some other women as well. It was extremely cold outside and almost 10+ buses were there and you can imagine how many passengers were walking around. Anyway, all the women in the cafe said that they can’t go outside, there is no place outside to sit safely. Now there was a man who probably was from Gilgit (Not sure I think I heard him telling somebody) and he was a staff member in the cafe.
He said, ‘Alright, male family members need to go outside all the women can stay.” Now here I felt extremely bad because whatever the weather conditions are, men can get sick too. Won’t they feel cold? Then the cafe staff said that they might get in trouble if men and women both will be staying here. So either of them has to go. Long story short obviously men said we will go because you all will have security concerns too.
That one staff member woke up the whole night in a separate room and took care of the cafe and allowed all the women to stay. We were almost 6-8 women. It was his favor and courtesy for all of us. He asked us if we need anything to eat or have tea he will provide and then he went away.
Ideal right? I know that there are a lot of helping and good people in Pakistan as well.
What if no staff member was willing to stay? What if the cafe was not safe? What if there was some mishap? Who was responsible for my security? what if there were no more female passengers? NO ONE!
We couldn’t go back, no one could come to pick us up. We couldn’t go anywhere. We woke up all night and talked with each other about random topics. My mind was in a continuous state of being insecure. If there is a policy of Airlines to offer stay and security if they are stuck somewhere, why not for buses? If female passengers are not huge in number does it mean that they shouldn’t focus this thing?
If the fog issue lasts for a short period, should this be considered as acceptable? There are thousands of girls working and studying in different cities who travel, who is responsible for local travel issues?
Why there is no security policy when buses are stuck. Anything can happen anytime. What if next time there would be a single girl and this happens?
The road was closed from both sides. and no one was answerable. I wonder if the buses should have the security policy or proper knowledge of the route to tell the passengers not to go or if motorway rules need to be strengthened. Is it going to go this way until something happens?
It was a horrible experience apart from the fact that we all ladies had interesting conversations that kept us awake! Yes from 10 pm to 8 am!! #LocalTransport #Buses #Issues #Security #Policies #Travel #Experiences #Women #WeNeedPolicies #Implementation