As the free metro ride scheme of the Delhi government faces delay, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is all set to make Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus ride free for women across the capital city. The system allowing the free ride to women will raise pink travel tickets for women travelling by DTC and cluster buses.

The Delhi cabinet has decided to reimburse Rs 10 to the operator for every pink ticket issue to women travelling any distance across the city. “The fare for travelling in a DTC or a cluster bus is five rupees for up to 4km, Rs 10 for 4km to 10km and Rs 15 for journeys beyond 10km. Overall a passenger spends Rs 10 on a ride and that is how much the government will reimburse to the operators for each ride,” a DTC official said.

The DTC initially asked the Delhi government to approve free passes for which the govt. could reimburse Rs 800 per pass on a monthly basis. But the Aam Aadmi Party government rejected the proposal as it wants to gauge the total number of tickets issued for the number of trips women take in the city.

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Delhi government at the beginning of June announced that it wants to make the commute easier for women in the capital by making Delhi metro free for them. The AAP, which holds a 50 per cent share in the Delhi metro, along with the Central Government, plans to provide a free travelling facility on the metro and bus transport system for women in Delhi. However, DMRC officials sought at least eight months’ time to make necessary preparations, including seeking approval from the fare-fixation committee. Metro Man E Sreedharan wrote a letter to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in which he urged the Kejriwal government to “not destroy” the efficient and successful public transport system for electoral gains.

“I am not opposing Delhi government’s proposal to bear the cost of free travel for women but objecting only to the concept of free travel in a metro. If we allow free travel for women, what about more deserving categories such as students, disabled persons and senior citizens?” he argued in the letter.

“The fare for travelling in a DTC or a cluster bus is five rupees for up to 4km, Rs 10 for 4km to 10km and Rs 15 for journeys beyond 10km. Overall a passenger spends Rs 10 on a ride and that is how much the government will reimburse to the operators for each ride”

Atishi Marlena of AAP wrote a Facebook post defending the move to provide a free metro ride to Delhi’s women. “As of now only 33% of Metro commuters are women. The fare hike last year hit women the worst forcing them to shift to more unsafe modes of transport like private buses, ride-sharing, or even walking. This move will help them return to the Metro’s safety. More women in any public spaces automatically make those spaces safer for women. This move will help women reclaim public spaces,” she wrote.

Apart from making public transport free for women, the Delhi government is also contemplating installing hooters with speakers in new DTC buses. Every DTC bus will have at least 10 such panic buttons which once pressed will start a siren in the bus alerting the rest of the passengers of any crime happening in the bus. It will also make the bus stop and alert the nearby police station of the crime.

Picture credit- Qamar Sibtain

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