In a significant decision, that may help more women step out and use public spaces, Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal at a press conference on Monday, announced free rides in DTC, cluster buses and the Delhi Metro for women. The proposal will be implemented in two-three months.
Aimed towards creating a women-friendly transport system, the free travel may help more women use public transport in the city. The AAP government says only 33 percent of metro commuters in Delhi are women i.e 7 lakh women for every 16 lakh male commuters, daily. If the policy of free rides is implemented, more and more women will use public spaces, creating new opportunities for education and employment for women in the city and providing them a better future.
On the question of revenue loss for the debt-ridden Delhi metro, government said that the DMRC will not suffer at all because of this as the ticket revenue lost by Delhi Metro will be reimbursed fully by the Delhi government. Kejriwal, in his press conference, had said that it would cost the Delhi government Rs 700 crore. “Women will be given free rides in DTC, cluster buses and the Delhi Metro. The government will bear their travel expenses,” Kejriwal said. He added that the decision has been taken keeping the safety of women in mind. It would take about three months for the rollout of the scheme
The scheme which is expected to cost Rs 700-800 crore for the remainder of the financial year before the assembly election is held in 2020, is also seen by many as a political move to woo female voters. Delhi has about 64.42 lakh women out of 1.41 crore voters. In the Lok Sabha election, they had outnumbered men voters in three of the seven parliamentary constituencies – East Delhi, New Delhi and South Delhi, wherein AAP candidates had lost badly.
Nonetheless, it’s a welcome move which will make sure more and more women can make use of public transport in the national capital.