Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) is likely to get 100 AC and Non AC buses on the streets of Mumbai, primarily for women. The buses will be driven by women drivers and conductors. They will be called "Tejasvini".
The buses will be taking only women passengers during the peak hours, that are- 7 am to 11 am and 5 pm to 9 pm on routes outside the railway station and ferry women to Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Nariman Point, Lower Parel and Malad, among other places.
These buses are to cater to the working women of Mumbai, with the aim of providing a safer option of commuting during peak hours where getting public transport is a hassle.
BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde said, as reported in the Times of India, "We are procuring the buses in phases and they will be deployed on busy office-going routes for women commuters during peak hours." The launching of the buses is a part of the initiative taken by the state government and will be replicated in other cities like Navi Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivli and Nagpur. The slated budget for the program is Rs 50 crores.
Commenting on this move, The Ladies Finger commented, "For anyone who knows how palpable the male gaze is, and how real the threat of violence, and fear of safety usually is, women-only initiatives are a haven."
The Free Press Journal in an article said, the management of BEST is already operating special buses which are catering to only women passengers. “ The state government decided to run these special buses for the convenience of women passengers. These buses would help them travel in a comfortable manner during peak hours when the buses are crowded. We have recorded at least 85 trips of these buses on a daily basis,” said Hanumath Gofhane, Public Relations Officer of BEST.
Measures like these can be helpful to women in two ways - by providing a source of income and create more jobs, leading to financial independence. The other benefit is safe transportation, with the hope of solving multiple concerns regarding public transport for women. The Kerala state government took a similar step, last month, for the employment of women. It also challenges a third problem - the mindset of people who feel that women should not step outside their houses after dark as a safety measure.
Pic Credit: Pic Credit: indianexpress.com
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Jagriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV