Free bus and metro rides for women in Delhi, CM Arvind Kejriwal announces: Just few months before the Delhi Assembly elections, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made the statement of making DTC bus as well as the Metro rides free for women in the national capital. This announcement has also has raised quite a storm on Twitter and other social networking sites. Some of the people are thinking that it is a good initiative for women as well as senior citizens, while on the other hand some others are saying that this decision of Delhi government is totally unjustified and defies Gender ‘Equality’.
“On all DTC buses, cluster buses and metro trains, women will be allowed to travel free of cost so that they have safe travel experience and can access modes of transport which they were not able to, due to high prices,” he said.
Clarifying that subsidy is not going to be imposed on anyone, Arvind Kejriwal said that the free ride scheme is optional.
“There are several women who can afford these modes of transport. Those who can afford can purchase tickets, they needn’t take subsidy. We encourage those, who can afford, to buy tickets and not take subsidy so that others could benefit,” Arvind Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal in his statement also said that the Delhi government would bear the expense, about Rs 1,600 crore for each year. He also added by saying that the decision has been taken in order to keep and maintain the safety of women in mind. It would take around three months for the rollout of the scheme.
“The government is planning free travel for women in public transport and is going to bear the loss of revenue that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Delhi Transport Corporation and the cluster scheme buses would face due to this decision,” Delhi government official said.
On the other hand, the scheme is just a proposal and has not been launched yet. Arvind Kejriwal said that he has given a week time to the Delhi government officials in order to make a detailed proposal to both DTC as well as the Delhi Metro.
He said, “I’ve given one-week time to officials to make a detailed proposal – for both DTC and metro – on how and when can this be implemented. We’re making an effort to start this within 2-3 months. We’re also seeking suggestions from people, regarding implementation.”
“Initially, we had told the Centre not to increase the price of tickets, they didn’t agree. We told them we’ve 50-50 partnership, let’s give 50-50 subsidy on raised prices, they didn’t agree. Delhi government will bear the fare of what we’re going to do. We needn’t take approval for this,” he further added.
A Delhi government official said Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot has already started taking meetings in order to discuss various different aspects of fare-waiver to women in all public transport buses – run by DTC and DIMTS – as well as Delhi metro.
Transport Department officials had, on the other hand, point out that while letting free travel in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and also cluster buses run by the Delhi Integrated Multi Modal System(DIMTS) may not be problematic, it is going to be “challenging” to do so in Metro trains.