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Cannot allow ticket-free travel, will issue free cards to women: DTC

Officials of the DTC said that the corporation has cited legal provisions in the Motor Vehicles Act to explain that no passenger can be allowed to travel without a ticket in state-run buses.

delhi Updated: Jun 11, 2019 04:41 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
free public transport,free metro,DMRC
New Delhi, India - June 4, 2019: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia speaks to women in a bus about the Delhi government scheme to make travel free for women in public buses and metro, in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (Photo by Mohd Zakir/ Hindustan Times)(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)

The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has conveyed to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi that instead of allowing ticket-free travel to women in its buses, the corporation will issue special annual passes or gender-based common mobility cards free of charge.

While submitting its report, on Monday, on implementing Delhi government’s proposal to allow free travel for women in the Metro and buses, the DTC said it would require an annual subsidy amount of about Rs200 crore to roll out the scheme in its buses, apart from another Rs100 crore that would be incurred on the cluster (orange-coloured) buses, which are operated by the Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System Ltd.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which had to submit a proposal on rolling out the scheme in the Metro, however, had not submitted its report till late on Monday.

Officials of the DTC said that the corporation has cited legal provisions in the Motor Vehicles Act to explain that no passenger can be allowed to travel without a ticket in state-run buses. “Ticket-free travel is ruled out not only because it will affect the ridership data, but also because the law does not allow it in state carriage buses. Besides, it would also result in pilferage where the conductor could easily fudge actual ridership by exaggerating the number of women availing free rides as the scheme is voluntary. Issuing passes and mobility cards will help us keep a tab on the ridership,” am official of the transport corporation, not authorised to speak to the media, said.

Also read: AAP holds 200 public meetings, says most women support free rides

Another DTC official said that like the Metro, the corporation will also have to open more bus pass counters and start a registration drive for women passengers to create fresh gender-based database for the scheme.

The DTC has stated that the ridership of women in the state-run buses is 31%-32%.

Meanwhile, Buoyed by the flurry of feedback from stakeholders on the free-travel scheme, the Dialogue and Development Commission for Delhi (DDCD), on Monday, extended the deadline to seek feedback to June 30.

Transport minister Kailash Gahlot said his department has begun preparing a cabinet note on the proposal even as the Delhi Metro is yet to submit its report on how it will implement the scheme. “The transport commissioner has started drafting a cabinet note. Though a cabinet meeting is scheduled sometime this week, it is difficult to say whether the department will be able to put all things together by then as we are still waiting for reports from a few stakeholders,” he said.

DDCD vice-chairperson Jasmine Shah said the government has, so far, received 3,800 emails from people across the globe. “The response is quite good. We have made a special team at the DDCD for analysing all the suggestions and objections received. The workable ideas will definitely be incorporated. We are extending the deadline to June 30,” he said.

While announcing a proposal to offer free bus and Metro rides to women in Delhi, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had, on June 3, said that the government is open to suggestions from the public and experts on improving the scheme.

Also read: Free ride for women welcome, but fix city’s transport system

The chief minister had also sought project proposals on the same within a week from the DTC and the DMRC.

While implementing the scheme is easier in public buses, the government has chalked out an initial plan for rolling it out in the Metro. As a short-term measure, the Metro plans to give pink tokens to women commuters. The suggested long-term measures, includes creating new entry-exit AFC gates, holding a registration drive for women passengers and handing out pink smartcards to them.

First Published: Jun 11, 2019 04:40 IST