Free Rides For Women In Delhi Metro

By jatin July 2, 2019 17:40

The Delhi government has proposed to make free rides for women in Delhi Metro as well as in buses in about three months.

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  • The measure is meant to encourage more women to use public transport, which the government reckons is the safest mode.
    • This gender-based public transport fare subsidy programme, announced by the Delhi government, has not been tested anywhere in India in the past.
    • In India, however, urban transport fare concessions for seniors, students, and other socioeconomic groups are available for government-operated flights and long-distance railway services.
  • The DMRC has been told that since the execution of the latest free metro service proposal will not lead to any changes in its fare structure
  • Globally, Cities often provide public transport fare subsidies to all or some citizens to encourage them to use public transport, or for easing their travel cost burdens.
    • Singapore offers a discount to rail commuters who are willing to travel before the morning rush-hour.
    • Public transport is free for residents in Estonia.
    • Luxembourg, with a population of about 600,000, has made public transport free for those under the age of 20.
    • Paris, with a population of over 2 million, has announced a comparable plan.
    • Hong Kong has implemented a public transport fare concession scheme for people aged 65 years or more.
    • Berlin offered women a 21% ticket discount for one day in March this year to highlight the gender wage gap.

Advantage of Fare Discount

  1. Fare discounts intend to make public transport truly public: Some people are at a relative disadvantage in urban transportation markets due to their unique social, economic, and health circumstances. Specific supply-side investments or fare price discounts help the disadvantaged travel, conduct activities and prosper. For example women
    • Article 13 in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises freedom of movement as a basic human right.
    • If we consider transportation as a fundamental social need and providing mobility for the transportation-disadvantaged as our collective responsibility, then any urban transport policy should include subsidies targeted at the disadvantaged.
  2. Gender Justice: Women in India travel far less than men, and this has significant impacts on their education, employment, and enjoyment.
  • A subsidy like this is most likely to benefit women who might consider taking up jobs for which they are better suited but are further away from home.
  • Free public transport can, therefore, bring more women to public spaces, and, consequently, make those spaces safer for women.
  • A study in Delhi found that college girls, compared to boys, chose lower ranked colleges with safe and reliable transport access.
  • Similarly, an estimated 60% of women workers in India choose to work from home or at a place which is less than a km from home, according to the 2011 Census.
  • The remaining working women tend to rely excessively on public transport, according to a World Bank Study conducted in Delhi.
  • An RTI application revealed that, in 2013, only 13% of Delhi driving licences were issued to women.
  • When Delhi Metro hiked fares last year, around 70% of women surveyed in a study suggested that they would have to choose a less safe travel option for work or travel less.

Issues with the free ride

  1. Women who can afford to pay the full fare will form a larger proportion of female travellers on the metro.
  2. Women who should ideally benefit from free rides might still not use the metro or the buses, simply because such modes of transport do not connect their place of residence and place of work.
  • Domestic help who walk 2-6 km daily fall in that category.
  1. It discriminates against poor men and boys.

Other Issues

  1. It creates a huge financial burden to the state government exchequer.
  • According to Delhi government, it will give around a sum of Rs 700-800 crore as total subsidy to the DMRC, DIMTS, and DTC if the exemption scheme is rolled out for around six months this year.
  1. Increase tussle between Centre and Delhi government
    • According to DMRC, the Delhi government, which along with the Centre, is an equal equity partner in the DMRC, is well within its rights to implement the plan, more because it has promised to provide full subsidy
  2. Implementation challenges
    • Whether a free public transport pass for women should be income-based is unclear
      • Meanwhile, to implement the proposal, the DTC and the management of cluster buses have proposed that special women pass or colour-coded tickets be introduced.

Also read: The Legal Provisions for Women

Maratha Reservation Verdict By High Court: An Analysis


By jatin July 2, 2019 17:40