Had there been a proper public transport system in place, the 23-year-old physiotherapy student, who became a victim of gang rape and eventually succumbed to her injuries last year, would have been a practising paramedic today.
On the night of December 16 last year, the student and her male friend had waited nearly 20 minutes for a DTC bus at a bus stop in Munirka before they boarded a chartered bus after attempts to hail an auto-rickshaw failed. That was to become the last ride of her life. She died in a Singapore hospital on December 29 — 13 days after the brutal night.
A year since the incident and the system hasn’t changed a bit. We have a world-class transport system in the name of Delhi Metro but due to lack of last-mile connectivity, it is not an option for city’s women after dark. Buses do not follow any time schedule. The only option left is an auto-rickshaw but the operators fleece passengers and charge according to their will.
Most drivers refuse to ply by the meter. Many are not even aware of the routes and directions and thus go only towards their preferred direction.
Panic button installed in autos is of no use as it isn’t linked to the police control room. Though it is mandatory for an auto driver to paste his details on the windscreen of the vehicle, many still avoid doing it.
Outside Metro stations, one of the most common problems faced by women commuters is reaching their homes. While e-cycle rickshaws are available, many a time the rickshaw pullers are drunk or the stretches are so poorly lit that women avoid going alone. The Grameen Sewa is always too crowded and hence avoided by women.
Though the provision of deploying home guards is in place on buses on night routes, this service starts only at 11pm, a time when not many people, especially women, use public transport.
Safety at bus stops
The Delhi Police have identified over 200 bus stops which are not properly lit. “Our men guard identified bus stops during peak hours,” a police officer said.