Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, on June 3, announced metro rides, DTC bus rides and feeder buses will be made free for women in Delhi. He added that the government plans to implement the move in three months. This year alone, the programme would cost the state Rs 700 crore.
The first question popped up was – Would it result in a fare hike again? Or the taxpayers’ money will be utilised for sops? Kejriwal said his government would bear the cost of free rides for women on the Delhi Metro and public buses.
“Delhi is the only government that is honest and is spending your money on facilities and is still running on profit,” Kejriwal said.
Many pointed out that the move will only hurt the finances of an already debt-ridden Delhi metro. The Aam Aadmi Party said the DMRC will not suffer because of this. AAP said the ticket revenue lost by Delhi Metro will be reimbursed fully by the Delhi government.
Despite this, the move has left a group of commuters perplexed and full of questions.
Who will benefit the most from this move?
“As of now only 33 per cent 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 makes those spaces safer for women. This move will help women reclaim public spaces,” said AAP’s Atishi.
What about the safety of women who are out at night and are forced to take a cab at exorbitant fares, risking unruly driver behaviour?
The ideal way to deal with this situation and ensure safety is to increase the plying hours of metro.
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