• Harshita Chaarag

The Youth's Verdict on the Free Metro & Bus Travel for Women

Updated: Mar 30

The Delhi Government in a public meeting recently announced its intention to make metro & bus travel free for women. The Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal has said, “The government is considering to waive fare for women in DTC buses and Delhi Metro to encourage them to use public transport in view of their safety.”


Officials of the transport department have said that making the bus travel free would be relatively easier. However doing so for the metro would be difficult since the Central and Delhi government are equal partners in the running of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.


The move is believed to be in light of the upcoming assembly elections. The decision brought mixed responses among the people. While some said that the move was a positive one especially when one was to look at women coming from weaker financial background, the backlash was higher. Most people took to social media by stating that the move actually went back on the objectives of gender equality. The arguments used were that making metro would not make it safer for women. Some said the same money could be utilized to set up more security forces. However the strongest point made was that it would hit the economics of the metro very hard.



The Poll


I myself was conflicted on the move. I felt that the move was an excellent one for women who came for poor financial backgrounds. But at the same time, it was also true that the financial loss would be severe. Further, making the metro & buses free would in way ensure the safety of women.


My social media was also full of conflicting opinions. So I decided to find out what my peers feel on the matter.


As a child of the 21st Century, I decided to take to my biggest resource: the internet. I used my Instagram story profile to explain my idea and conduct a poll. I wasn’t an optimist who expected every single person swiping past my story to respond. But my expectation was that at least some would. If it fructified into a decent amount of responses, I could turn it into a story. If it didn’t, it would be a no win no loss situation, with me getting to know what some of my peers felt.




The Verdict


My expectations were right. I received poll responses from 136 viewers out of the total viewers on my story.


When I started getting votes on my poll, I decided to take it one step further and asked for people’s opinions on the matter.


The responses I got were from people who were either seniors & juniors from my college or old classmates of mine. And boy, did they have a lot to say. Let me give you a glimpse of the responses I received.





The Opinions in Support


  • “I think it’s a good move to promote inclusiveness & gender equality.”

  • “It’s not doing any harm to anyone. If it’s well planned out, it could benefit a lot of women.”

  • “I mean, if we are wanting an equality among genders then why not here?”

  • “I think it’s actually a pretty great move.”

  • “I personally feel that the idea was good. The thought behind the idea was amazing.”



The Opinions Against


  • “Women never asked for free rides, they just asked for security, which is not at all addressed by this move.”

  • “Someone has to pay for it, it looks like a freebie but the real cost would ultimately be paid by our tax.”

  • “We don’t need free travel, we need safe travel. That’s all. We need to feel secure, nothing else.”

  • “It’s all about vote bank & politics, this has nothing to do with welfare of that section or society directly.”

  • “You are making the women weaker this way.”

  • “I don’t think women need that. We work, we can pay. They should care about our safety instead.”

  • “Economy runs with flow of money. To provide security we need more police personnel, not no fare.”

  • “No sense to make it free. Where is woman empowerment?”

  • “Making the travel services totally free was not an economically prudent decision.”

  • “The Government is gonna lose a lot of revenue out of this as 33% of travelers are women. If nothing else this will affect the Delhi Government which always cribs about not having enough $$$.”



The Suggestions that Were Offered


  • “The Delhi Government could have also reduced the fares instead of making the service free.”

  • “I believe an extra coach or coaches would have been safer & cheaper for the government.”

  • “Base it on economic status rather than reinforcing gender stereotype.”

  • “Subsidies & more reserved seats/coaches will go a longer way.”

  • “It should be free based on economic conditions and not gender alone.”

  • “It should be made safe & not free. If concession has to be made it should be to the underprivileged.”

  • “If they really want to do something for women, bring in 24X7 metro services. Also this is also against the basic struggle which has been going on for years to bring in gender equality.”



Conclusion


As is evident from the poll, 71% of the respondents have voted against the move. It is clear from their opinion that gender is not a valid ground for such a distinction. A popular view also seems to be that this move is actually against woman empowerment. The proposal is still pending and has been passed for sure. Delhi Metro has raised concerns against it. It is yet to be seen what actually happens. But the vote is to bring in other more effective changes.


The article was originally published by the same author on https://socialchumbak.com/politics/free-rides-wont-make-women-safer/

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