Free ride for women in buses in Delhi from Oct 29

Free ride for women in buses in Delhi from Oct 29

With polls in mind, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced the rolling out of free travel for women in state government-run buses and cluster buses in the national capital from October 29.

The announcement came during Kejriwal's Independence Day address in Chhatrasal Stadium here, two months after he proposed that all public transport in the capital, including Delhi Metro. The free travel for women in Metro has not been announced yet, as the BJP-led Centre and AAP-led Delhi government are at loggerheads over the issue.

"On the day of Raksha Bandhan, I want to give a gift to our sisters that there will be free rides for women on all DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) and cluster buses from October 29, on the occasion of Bhaiya Dhooj, which will ensure their safety," Kejriwal said in his address.

He later tweeted, "this step will prove to be very important in respect to women's security and empowerment and towards fulfilling their dreams."

With AAP relegated to the third position in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, this move is seen as Kejriwal's attempts to win over women voters ahead of the Assembly polls, which is likely to be held by February next year.

Kejriwal had on June 3 announced free travel for women in public transport buses and Delhi Metro trains, saying the step is taken with ensuring women safety in the capital. He had then said the scheme was likely to be rolled out in two-three months.

However, the plans to expand it to Delhi Metro has not moved forward with the Central government is not keen. Delhi government and the Centre have an equal share in Delhi Metro. Also, former Delhi Metro Chairman M Sreedharan had opposed any such move, though Delhi government had said it would reimburse Metro's losses.

For this fiscal, Kejriwal had estimated that the scheme is likely to cost the exchequer around Rs 700-800 crore, including for Metro, and it would be borne entirely by the Delhi government