Reminder for CM Bommai: Make bus travel free for women
She also said the state government should support the BMTC in rolling out such schemes so that the bus corporation is not overburdened financially.
BENGALURU: As the countdown begins for the State Budget, the chorus for free travel for women in Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses is increasing.
Transport activists pointed out that states like Punjab, Delhi and Tamil Nadu are offering free travel for women and felt that this move will bring in a social change. They also added that free travel should not be looked at as a freebie, but as a step that will usher in social change granting greater independence to women.
Shaheena Shasa, member of Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike, a bus commuters’ rights forum, said, “We have been demanding that the state government provide free bus travel for women in Bengaluru. Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Delhi are doing so. Tamil Nadu was the recent state to introduce it and a survey by the State Planning Commission has revealed that women are able to save more than Rs 800-1,000 every month and increased the share of women passengers.”
She pointed out that Bengaluru has the most expensive ticket fares in the country. “This is a policy that will impact lakhs of women. They can travel without depending on others. This will enable greater independence and access to more opportunities,” she said.
Offering free travel to women in BMTC is nothing, but an investment in social change. Women will get the freedom to pursue whatever they wish. They can go to college and get into the workforce. They will feel emancipated, said Shreya Gadepalli, mobility expert.
She also said the state government should support the BMTC in rolling out such schemes so that the bus corporation is not overburdened financially. “Otherwise the transport corporation will struggle to provide quality service,” she said.
“We see many women who work as daily wagers earning around Rs 200-300 every day and spending more than one-fifth of their income on bus travel. If women are offered free travel, they can invest the money on providing better food and education,” she added.
A top BMTC official said the bus corporation is already financially overburdened and added that if the state government can reimburse the free ticket fare, then it shouldn’t be any problem in offering free rides to women across the city.