Female Students Allege Bus Drivers’ Harassment


Photo by Malak Monir

By Neha Rashid

Photo by Malak Monir
Photo by Malak Monir


The senior transport supervisor for Qatar Foundation’s bus service said recently that he has received several complaints from female students who say they have been ogled and forced to provide their phone numbers to the drivers in order to be let off the bus.

Allegedly, inappropriate stares and this kind of forced communication have formed the basis of most of these complaints, said Lubino Soares.

“We will take immediate action if we receive the car number, timing, route taken, or the driver’s name – any of these things would help us get to the culprit,” said Soares, who is urging harassed students to give him this information.

To put this in context, in Qatar, women are not used to being given allegedly inappropriate stares by males and therefore don’t know how to handle these situations.

A junior at Georgetown University in Qatar said that the driver stared at her and other girls on the bus. Like many sources in this story, she asked not to be named to protect her privacy.

“I was sitting at an angle where I was able to see him [the driver]. As girls walked on to the bus, he’d look them up from top to bottom, essentially checking them out,” she said, “Then he would continue to stare at each girl in the bus’ rearview mirror.”

Another student, a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, said she had been encouraged by the Community Development Advisor in her dorm to take a bus driver’s number so she would be able to get around a new and unfamiliar campus more easily.

“I called him once to take me to Lulu Express and he kept calling me afterwards. I changed my number and he demanded I give him my new one the next time I rode in his bus. He wouldn’t open the bus doors until I agreed to call him so he could save it [my number],” she said.

“One of the drivers regularly does this. He doesn’t open the [bus] doors when it’s time for me to get off. He keeps on talking and makes me listen,” a freshman at Northwestern University in Qatar charged.

“I wouldn’t find the conversations so uncomfortable if he wouldn’t ask me for personal details. He has asked me about my holidays, my family and my phone number,” she said.

“It makes me awkward and uncomfortable, especially because he will usually stare at me for the entire bus ride. I don’t want to sound rude but I don’t know what to do in these situations,” she said.

One of the accused drivers said he only gives his number to male students who ask him for it and that it has been passed around to females, which makes him uncomfortable.

“I’m a respectable married man. If students approach me and tell me I have wronged them, I will ask for forgiveness and leave my job because this is a matter of my self-respect,” he said. “If I talk to you nicely, you’ll think I’m a nice man. I’m only trying to be friendly.”

The GU-Q junior complained to Housing and Residence Life officials but preferred to not give out the driver’s name, as did the CMU-Q freshman.

“He has not verbally or physically harassed me. He’s just downright creepy and inappropriate,” she charged. “I don’t want to put him in an unfair position. But all that said, I would like for him to receive some disciplinary action,” she said.

If you have been harassed or feel uncomfortable with any actions of a driver, we strongly urge you to contact Lubino Soares at [email protected].


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