A safe and reliable public transport for women and girls

Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Port Moresby, PNG — Port Morebsy City authorities launched the first-ever bus timetable in the city. As part of the Safe Public Transport Programme, Ginigoada (UN Women NGO partner) has worked in collaboration with UN Women to provide safe transport options for women and girls in Port Moresby. Since 2015, Ginigoada has operated four women-only buses providing safe and free transit to approximiately 650 women and girls daily, supported by the Australian government.

Women commuters celebrating the launch of the first bus time-table in the city. Photo: UN Women/Lisa Mari, Guinigoada.

Starting today, the women-only bus will not only guarantee a safe commute for women and girls, but also save time. Having access to the timetable, women and girls will be better able to make decisions on the best travel options and plan their multiple trips across the city. This is particularly important for women and girls who have to plan their daily activities around their socially assigned triple roles: –productive, reproductive and community managing roles.

Thje project was designed in response to a scoping study which found that 97 per cent of women and girls feel unsafe at the bus stops in the city. As such, project partners considered that an efficient bus timetable would help reduce the waiting time at bus stops and the most importantly, diminish the probability of sexual harassment.

(middle) Lizzette Soria, UN Women Safe City Programme. Photo: UN Women/Lisa Mari, Guinigoada.

The CEO of Ginigoada’s Pastor, Mike Field expressed his delight in his own words: “Clearly we look forward to the day when there is no longer a need for a women-only bus, however until that time arrives it is our hope and intention to continue to run theses buses as best as we can, to bring safe, dignified and timely service to women and girls who choose to ride on the MeriSeif bus.” Lizzette Soria, UN Women Safe City Programme Specialist stated further; “this is an important initiative, particularly for women and girls who most frequently suffer from time poverty. We expect that this safe and reliable service will unlock further women’s time and potential.”

The launch of the MeriSeif time table is an important milestone for the city. Being the first bus service to have a fixed schedule in Port Moresby, the MeriSeif bus is raising up the standards for a safe, efficient and reliable transport service for all.