Free bus ride scheme for women begins

New Delhi: The free-ride scheme for women on Delhi public buses might be extended to senior citizens and all students, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said as the initiative took off on Tuesday. This scheme will help in women empowerment by bridging the gender gap that exists in society, the Chief Minister said on his mobile application 'AK App' and added that this was a gift from their brother on 'Bhai Dooj'.

CM Kejriwal said, "Women of our country are no less than anyone else. Whenever they have had equal opportunity, they have done wonders. Whether it is the field of sports, academia, space science, business, they have demonstrated their excellence. But the structure of our society is so lopsided that women do not get equal opportunities. In Delhi, only 11 per cent of the workforce consists of women. This clearly shows women do not have access to equal opportunities. 30 per cent of passengers on our buses are women and 70 per cent are men. It is common for women to get less pay than men for equal work. There is a stark gender wage gap in our society."

"I personally know many such families in which even when a girl wants to pursue her education, and the family is unable to afford the travel cost of the girl to her school or college, the girl is forced to give up on her studies. All such women — our daughters and sisters, will now get the opportunity to attend school or college even if it is far from their home. Women will now be able to travel far for work without being discouraged by the fare," he added.

Talking about women safety CM said, "Now every bus in Delhi will have a bus marshal to protect women. I want to warn all such miscreants who harass women, pick pockets of people in buses — beware! Your behaviour will not be tolerated. Some were asking me how will free travel in buses make women safer? The answer is that now our buses are safer and we are encouraging more women to travel in these safe buses."

Talking about free bus rides for senior citizens and students the Delhi CM said, "We have started with making it free for women. We will take these experiences into account and then do it. Everything cannot be done in one go."

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