New Delhi: With Assembly polls due early next year in the city, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced free Delhi Metro and DTC bus rides for women in the capital city. The expenses of the free ride scheme will be borne by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi. The scheme for free rides for women was announced at a press conference.
Arvind Kejriwal said that the scheme to provide free Delhi Metro and DTC rides has been announced so that women have safe travel experience in Delhi.
“On all DTC buses, cluster buses and metro trains, women will be allowed to travel free of cost so that they have safe travel experience and can access modes of transport which they were not able to, due to high prices,” he said.
Clarifying that subsidy will not be imposed on anyone, Arvind Kejriwal said that the free ride scheme is voluntary.
“There are several women who can afford these modes of transport. Those who can afford can purchase tickets, they needn’t take subsidy. We encourage those, who can afford, to buy tickets and not take subsidy so that others could benefit,” Arvind Kejriwal said.
However, the scheme is just a proposal and has not been launched yet. Arvind Kejriwal said he has given a week time to the Delhi government officials to make a detailed proposal to both DTC and the Delhi Metro.
He said, “I’ve given one-week time to officials to make a detailed proposal – for both DTC and metro – on how and when can this be implemented. We’re making an effort to start this within 2-3 months. We’re also seeking suggestions from people, regarding implementation.”
“Initially, we had told the Centre not to increase the price of tickets, they didn’t agree. We told them we’ve 50-50 partnership, let’s give 50-50 subsidy on raised prices, they didn’t agree. Delhi government will bear the fare of what we’re going to do. We needn’t take approval for this,” he said.
The proposal to make Delhi Metro and DTC rides free was made on Sunday “to encourage the women to use public transport”.
A Delhi government official said Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot has already taken meetings to discuss various aspects of fare-waiver to women in all public transport buses – run by DTC and DIMTS – and Delhi metro.
Transport Department officials had, however, point out that while allowing free travel in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses run by the Delhi Integrated Multi Modal System(DIMTS) may not be difficult, it will be “challenging” to do so in Metro trains.
The Delhi government and the Centre are 50:50 equity partners in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.