Bogota has introduced women-only seats on buses in a bid to combat the high levels of sexual assault and harassment women face when taking public transport in the Colombian capital.

The Council of Bogota voted in favour of the initiative this week. The project, which was proposed by conservative councillor Marco Fidel Ramirez, received 21 votes in favour and 14 against.

The initiative ensures that seats are reserved for women on Bogota's red bus system, known as TransMilenio, during rush hour in the morning and evening.

"It basically aims to reduce sexual harassment in the (bus) system and provide the security that women in Bogota need," Ramirez told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in September.

"The more women seated ... the more women protected," he said.

Ramirez cited a 2014 Reuters poll which listed Bogota's public transport as the most dangerous for women out of transport systems in the world's 16 largest capitals.

In a recent poll by the District Secretariat for Women, 64% of female passengers said they had experienced sexual harassment while travelling on the bus, broadcaster Noticias Caracol reported this week.

"Buses aren't safe. You can get your bag or cell phone stolen and be harassed. When the bus is so packed it's easy for men to rub up against you and grope you," Paula Reyes, a supermarket cashier in Bogota, told Reuters. "There's a total lack of respect for women here."

The new project has attracted controversy, with critics pointing out that it does little to change men's behaviour towards women.

Councillor Lucia Bastidas voted against the bill because it is "segregationist."

Postman Carlos Gonzalez told Reuters that the initiative is "discriminatory against men."

"I consider myself to be a gentleman and I usually give up my seat for a woman but I don't think I should be obliged and told to do so," he said.