BANGKOK (AFP): All-female “lady buses” will begin operating in Bangkok today, in a bid to eliminate sexual harassment of female passengers. The buses, which are marked with pink signs, will only take females and will “provide comfort and safety for women … freeing them from sexual harassment,” the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) said in a statement. If male passengers board the buses, they will feel as out of place as they would in women’s toilets, the head of the BMTA said on a Bangkok radio program. The buses will also help protect women from male bag-slashers, who tend to target female passengers with handbags at the end of the month, when many people receive their salaries. The BMTA will run 50 “lady buses” along ten major city routes during the evening rush hours. Although the buses will take only female passengers, their drivers and conductors will be men. The BMTA says it will screen these men in an effort to assess their sensitivity to women. The BMTA is Bangkok’s major public transport authority, operating more than 3,500 buses. They transport some 3.5 million passengers a day, sixty percent of whom are women. There was no comment from the BMTA as to whether or not lady-men will be welcome aboard the lady buses.
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