Women in Delhi will get free rides in public buses from Tuesday as the AAP government is all set to fulfil its promise months ahead of the assembly polls in the national capital. As per the plan, conductors will distribute pink tickets having face value of Rs 10 each to women passengers for free-travel. The government will then reimburse the transporters based on the number of such tickets issued.
There are around 3,700 DTC buses and 1,800 buses under the cluster scheme of the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS).
Tweeting the notification of implementing the free-ride scheme, transport minister Kailash Gahlot said, “Historic day for Delhi !!! Females will travel free in all Buses from 29.10.19. Notification has been issued. Delhi Govt under dynamic leadership of Honble Cm @ArvindKejriwal stands committed to ensure safety and security of Female passengers in Buses.”
According to Gahlot, 30 per cent of travellers in DTC and cluster buses are women.
The facility will also be available in Noida-NCR service, airport and other special services operated by the DTC and cluster scheme operators.
During his Independence Day speech, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said free-ride for women in both DTC and cluster buses will be started from October 29, which is ‘Bhai Dooj’.
On August 29, the Delhi cabinet had given in-principle approval to the scheme of providing free bus rides to women, but put a rider on female employees of the city government that they have to give up their transport allowance to avail the facility.
According to the government, women employees of the Delhi government, local bodies and undertakings will not be entitled for transport allowance if they opt for free ride in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses.
The public buses in Delhi carry over 45 lakh passengers each day, according to latest official figures.
The free ride scheme in buses and Delhi Metro trains was announced by Kejriwal in June. However, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) sought time to implement the scheme.
The Delhi Assembly has also approved a grant of Rs 150 crore for implementation of the scheme in metro.
Both DTC and DIMTS will strengthen their ticket checking mechanisms to prevent “misuse” and “pilferage” of single journey passes, officials said.
The scheme, however, has come under criticism from the opposition BJP, which has said it was a “desperate bid to buy votes”.
After it was announced in June by Kejriwal, BJP’s city unit chief Manoj Tiwari had said the chief minister was making such announcements because he was fast losing ground in Delhi.
Delhi is scheduled to go to polls early next year.