NEW DELHI (Metro Rail News): The cabinet note pertaining to free rides for women on public buses in Delhi has been finalized and it is likely to be “approved” by the Delhi cabinet by the end of the week, Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot said Monday.
Senior officials in Delhi government had earlier said while its plan to offer free rides to women on the Delhi Metro is set to take longer, with the involvement of the fare fixation committee, they were planning to implement the scheme first on buses.
While the Centre is a stakeholder when it comes to Metro services, city buses come under the jurisdiction of the Delhi government.
The Delhi government currently has 5,521 buses that ply across Delhi-NCR. The city’s state-run buses have a daily ridership of over four million of which nearly 31% are women, senior government officials said.
“All modalities for the cabinet note have been taken into account. It has been finalized. It is likely to be approved by the Delhi cabinet by the end of the week,” Gahlot said.
The Delhi Transport Corporation and the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd (which operates the cluster buses in Delhi) together had given an estimate of Rs 300 crore for the first year, including capital cost. Both agencies had also suggested introducing special passes and cards to beneficiaries of the scheme.
While announcing the scheme on June 3, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had asked the DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to submit proposals of rolling out the schemes in their respective networks.
In its proposal, the DMRC had stated it would take at least six months to implement the scheme. It had offered two stop-gap arrangements to the government, out of which the Cabinet preferred the one which involved giving single ticket journey tokens in pink color to the interested female commuters. But this alternative, the DMRC has said would take them at least eight months to roll out.
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In its report to the government submitted on June 10, 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-colored) buses, which are operated by the Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System Ltd.
DTC officials had 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.
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.
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 include creating new entry-exit AFC gates, holding a registration drive for women passengers and handing out pink smartcards to them.