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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Manish Sisodia hops on to buses to get feedback

Anita, a janitor working at UPSC building welcomed the AAP’s move and said she would return to using the Metro again.

delhi Updated: Jun 05, 2019 07:34 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Most female passengers the minister spoke to on the buses said they feel safer in public transport instead of cabs or para-transit modes like auto-rickshaws.
Most female passengers the minister spoke to on the buses said they feel safer in public transport instead of cabs or para-transit modes like auto-rickshaws. (HT Photo)
         

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday spent his afternoon seeking feedback from people on the Delhi government’s ‘free public transportation for women scheme’ by hopping onto state-run buses and interacting with passengers.

Most female passengers the minister spoke to on the buses said they feel safer in public transport instead of cabs or para-transit modes like auto-rickshaws.

Anita, a janitor working at UPSC building welcomed the AAP’s move and said she would return to using the Metro again.

“I had to shell out about Rs 100 every day in commuting to and from my house in Dwarka. I started using buses more frequently after the Metro fares were increased in 2017. Buses are way cheaper than the Metro. But, if they are actually able to make it free for us then I will start using the Metro again. It is much better, as it is air-conditioned,” Anita said.

After riding in seven buses — starting from the bus stand in front of the defunct Indraprastha power station — Sisodia said that his interaction with passengers was positive. “I spoke with more than 50 women and many men in state-run buses to understand what they feel about the free-travel for women scheme. Not one citizen said that it’s a bad idea,” he said in the evening.

The minister said that on the contrary, everybody said public transport was more secure for women and that the step would save them Rs 2,000-3,000 every month. Sisodia boarded seven buses starting from the bus stand in front of the defunct Indraprastha power station.

Many students, HT spoke to in the same buses as the minister travelled in, said that the move would help them save pocket money. “At present, I shell out Rs 1,000 every month for getting a bus pass, using which we can avail unlimited travel on buses. If this is made free, then I will be able to use the Rs 1,000 on buying books or even return some amount to by father,” said Jyoti Kumari, a student of Lady Irwin college.

Separate gates special cards?

State urban development minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday said that women could be allowed free entry in the Delhi Metro by creating a separate entry/exit gate for them and by distribution of “free cards”.

Talking to reporters, Jain said only those who travel in “chauffeur driven cars” are opposing the scheme. “It is easily implementable. If there are six entry/exit gates, Metro can simply dedicate two gates solely for women. There are a lot of more suggestions coming in and we will refine our plan with time,” he said, adding that separate cards for women could also be a solution.

Transport minister Kailash Gahlot said that his department is yet to receive the project proposal from DMRC or DTC in this regard. While announcing the scheme on Monday, Kejriwal had said that the DMRC and the DTC have been asked to submit proposals for implementing the scheme within a week.

AAP survey gives thumbs up to scheme

The AAP on Tuesday said their internal survey has shown that 94% women welcomed the Delhi government’s proposal to offer free metro and bus rides to women in the national capital. Through the survey the party has also tried to assess the impact this scheme would have on the party’s fortunes in the assembly elections scheduled early next year.

The survey was commissioned by the party on Saturday and was concluded on Monday.

Both the BJP and the Congress have said that the announcement is a poll “gimmick”. Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari said a wider section of working women don’t want freebies.