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Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Bangkok's 'Lady Buses' on road
Lady Bus
A woman boards a Lady Bus in Bangkok
By Simon Ingram in Bangkok

City authorities in the Thail capital are inaugurating a women-only bus service on Tuesday.

Initially a fleet of 60 buses will operate during rush hours, along selected major city routes.

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority said the service would offer comfort and safety to women as well as freedom from sexual harassment.

The authority decided on the drastic action because female passengers aboard Bangkok's notoriously overcrowded buses have proven to be tempting prey for pickpockets, gangs of robbers and molesters.

The problem is particularly bad in the last few days of each calender month, when bulging pay packets bring additional lure for the criminal fraternity.

'Sensitive' drivers

The so-called "Lady Buses" will operate along 10 designated major routes through the capital.


Bangkok
60 buses will join Bangkok's heavy traffic
Only female passengers will be allowed aboard, but the drivers and conductors will usually be men, chosen for their senstivity towards women, transport officials say.

Initially the service will run only on the last three days of each month, but will be extended if the response from customers is sufficient.

The transit authority chairman, Peerapong Hisorn Pakdi, said he hoped male passengers would understand that they were not being discriminated against.

Women's rights have been taken more seriously in Thailand since a new liberal constitution was adopted two years ago.

Even so activists say many crimes against women often go unreported.

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19 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Counting the cost of crime
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