Since the AAP government in Delhi announced that public buses will offer free bus ride to women in the city, the official data released on Wednesday shows a 10 percent increase in women commuters by Delhi buses in the city. The women riders after the implementation of the scheme have reached 44 percent of the total riders of the public buses as against 33 percent women commuters taking bus service in the city in just 22 days.

The government officials analysed the data by counting single-journey passes (pink tickets) of denomination Rs 10 issued to women, the data said. The Delhi government promised to reimburse the cost of tickets according to the number of tickets bought by women travellers.

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On October 29, the Arvind Kejriwal-led government announced that women commuters will get a free pass to travel across the city by government buses. On the same day, a total of 4.7 lakh passes were issued to women which constituted 35 percent women travellers by DTC buses. By November 5, the percentage had grown to 40 percent comprising 5.78 lakh women travellers, reported TOI. On November 19, the total number of women commuters has come to be 12.6 lakh out of 30.3 lakh ticketed passengers who chose to commute by government-owned buses.

“The number of women passengers has been steadily increasing, with the highest ridership of women witnessed on 13.5 lakh on November 14,” a Delhi government official said. “The free ride scheme has proved to be very popular among women of Delhi. The deployment of marshals has also meant that a bus ride is now seen to be much safer than earlier,” the official said.

“While the total percentage of women in buses is near 42 percent now, the share of women is even higher at 44 percent in DTC buses,” he added.

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The scheme encompasses all buses operated DTC and cluster schemes operators like services provided to the airport and other special buses in Noida-NCR. All women can avail the free bus service except the women employees of the Delhi government who will have to rebate their travel allowance to use the free bus scheme.

On October 29, the Arvind Kejriwal-led government announced that women commuters will get a free pass to travel across the city by government buses. On the same day, a total of 4.7 lakh passes were issued to women which constituted 35 percent women travellers by DTC buses.

The AAP government received a lot of flak when they announced the free bus transport service for women across the capital as people called it a way to lure the public right before Delhi goes for the assembly election. However, Kejriwal called this move a way to empower women by acknowledging their mobility issues in the city. After the scheme has come into operation, women have praised the scheme for enabling them to achieve freedom of access. However, it’s critics have also called this move against the notions of gender equality.

Picture credit: The Tribune

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