Free Bus & Metro travel for Delhi women: Tweeple react

Free Bus & Metro travel for Delhi women: Tweeple react

AAP convener and Delhi Chief Arvind Kejriwal addresses a public meeting in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on Monday, announced free travel for women in public transport, including Delhi Metro. Although the commute is made free, women still can pay for their tickets if they are willing to.

Safety for women in public transport has been a constant subject of debate in India.  A total of 2,043 rape cases were registered in Delhi in 2018 - a marginal decline from the 2,059 rape cases in 2017 and 2,065 rape cases in 2016. The 2012 gang rape case in Delhi also sparked multiple protests across the nation.

Dinesh Mohan, a transport expert with the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, told the BBC that making public transport free wouldn't solve the problem.

"You need to think about the entire journey and not just the metro - you have to take into account how safe or unsafe sidewalks are and what the journey to the metro station is like in the first place. So if the idea is to make it safer for women, that experience has to be continuous. Safety can't begin and end at the metro station. I don't see any thought behind this initiative yet," he told the BBC.

ALSO READ: Only 9% of women feel safe in public transport

Most public transportation services, like metros and buses, have special vehicles or compartments for women. Delhi Metro also has a helpline for women to contact in case of emergencies.

But, does making the bus and metro tickets free by choice for women, guarantee the safety that the public transport wishes to promote?

ALSO READ: Women say public transport unsafe

The hashtags, #freemetroforwomen#DelhiMetro, #AAPKaFreebie and #womensafety have been trending all over, with Tweeple voicing multiple opinions, both for and against this notion.

AAP ministers and politicians welcomed the notion and claimed to have even spoken to the public for feedback.

The public and many notable personalities called it a "wonderful" idea and said that they have begun taking the Metro instead of private transport after this.

 

 

 

On the other hand, many others have directly called out the activist-turned-politician, saying that it is a stunt to get the vote of women in Delhi, ahead of the Delhi Assembly election coming up next year.

 

 Many have also posed questions to the Delhi CM, both on the feasibility and the unavailability of the scheme to men of the economically weaker section.

 

There have been multiple replies from both sides of the arguments, to defend their stance.

 

Women in Delhi still need to wait and see if the announcement will be actually implemented since the proposal is yet to be approved by the federal government. The federal government is an equity partner along with the Delhi government in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

Kejriwal has said that the Delhi government will bear the cost. Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot mentioned that they did not require any permission from the central government, as the move qualifies as a subsidy.

ALSO READ: Now, women auto drivers to secure safe commute?

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