The government has also set aside Rs 140 crore for free travel for women in DTC and cluster buses and 150 crores in metro.
Recently, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that rides on DTC buses and cluster buses will be free of cost for women, keeping in mind their safety and ease of travel. The idea behind this move is to enable more women to use public transport without being worried about the high fares.
Speaking of the initiative, Ankita Hazra, a Delhi resident says, “This decision will make the DMRC and the public bus transport system a lot more accessible and more expedient. I'm sure this will encourage more women to explore.” She continues, “A large number of women can be expected to be commuting through the same mode of transportation and that would definitely make us feel more confident,” she explains.
The proposed plan is fast on its way to becoming a reality as the Delhi assembly passed a grant of Rs. 290 crores — all supplementary demands — towards the ‘free travel for women passengers scheme’ in metros and buses on Monday. The government has also set aside Rs 140 crore for free travel for women in DTC and cluster buses and 150 crores in metro.
The move will especially be a boon for women coming from economically weak backgrounds. Chandni, a house-help, says, “I think the idea is not bad at all. I might travel more using the bus and won’t think much before travelling any where particularly to my far off workplaces which even extend to Dwarka.”
While some feel that this move might be helpful, others have already started express their doubts. Riya Gupta, a Delhiite points out, “It is no surprise that the Delhi Government is trying to do things which would make them look different from other governments, but I believe that this step of granting free rides to women passengers is a bad step when it comes to the economy.” She believes that buses being one of the most commonly used modes of transportation, the government has the opportunity to gain a lot of revenue from here, but this step is a setback. “It would be better if free rides were given to only people belonging to weaker economic backgrounds because then this step would actually help someone,” she opines.
But, to some, the move counts more than the drawbacks of it. “Though the government’s policy is against principles of economic growth, one cannot ignore that the freedom it would provide women,” says Sachi, a Delhi University students. She believes that the government is trying to do a lot for women's safety and this would bring the city closer to this goal. “Also, this would help in women becoming more self-sufficient as they can now go to distances for jobs and other things; they will not be dependent upon the opposite gender to look after them or to take them places,” she feels.