BENGALURU: Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, which launched 25 Pink Sarathi vehicles in June for women’s safety, has received 18 complaints related to women’s issues so far. However, women commuters are still not aware of this facility. Several commuters TNIE spoke to, could not even recognise the vehicle, its purpose or how to contact it.
Apart from the general call centre number (18004251663), the vehicle also has a WhatsApp number (7760991212) for complaints. However, women did not seem to be aware of this facility and were hearing it for the first time. When showed a picture, several mistook the vehicle for a Pink Hoysala, which belongs to the Bengaluru City Police. Shalini, a BCom student said,” I am not aware of this service. They should publicize the service and the number too.
I have faced several instances where the conductor did not return my change or the driver did not stop the bus at the designated stop. During rush hour, men also take advantage of the crowd to touch us. Apart from putting cameras in the bus, they should also monitor the footage constantly,” she said. Tejaswini, who takes BMTC buses to commute for work said, “I wasn’t aware of Sarathi vehicles. They should put up the WhatsApp number on the display boards in Majestic and distribute pamphlets as well.”
Several other women who are daily commuters gave similar responses when asked if they were aware of Pink Sarathi or how to complain in case of distress.The Sarathis can be found at bus depots and also on the roads, patrolling along the bus routes. They can be directly approached or also contacted through call, WhatsApp, twitter, email, mobile app and e-Janaspandana.
Two sarathi personnel TNIE spoke to at KBS and Yeshwanthpur said they had not received any major complaints of harrassment of women passengers.“We patrol from Banashankari to Gorguntepalya, passing through small bus stops as well. We have not received any sexual harrasment complaints so far,” said Mahadevaiah, a traffic controller in one of the Sarathis.“We will publicise the call centre number and whatsapp number of Pink Sarathi in bus stands. However, the call centre number is pasted on every bus,” said a BMTC official.