Discrimination against women commuters in Delhi buses persists, with drivers, conductors, and male passengers reportedly treating them unfairly due to the provision of free travel, as indicated by a survey conducted by environmental watchdog Greenpeace.
The Delhi government has responded to these concerns, asserting that it has taken robust measures to address complaints, including blacklisting errant drivers. The government has also pledged to promptly implement corrective actions to eliminate such issues in the future.
According to the survey report titled “Halt for Women Bus Users in Delhi,” the percentage of female commuters in Delhi buses has risen to nearly 33% in 2023, compared to 28% in 2021 and 25% in 2020. This increase is attributed to the initiation of the free-travel scheme for women in state-run buses in October 2019.
The report highlights that 54.2% of female respondents experienced derogatory remarks from drivers and male passengers regarding the free travel scheme. Moreover, a significant 80.2% reported instances of drivers not stopping for them at bus stops. However, 45.6% of women stated they did not face discrimination, and 0.2% refrained from commenting on the issue.
The survey collected responses from 500 female bus users across various age groups, classes, and occupations. It was conducted both offline and online between June and July.
In response to these findings, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi reaffirmed its commitment to women’s well-being and empowerment. The government has been actively taking steps, such as providing free pink tickets to encourage women’s participation in public transport. It revealed that, as of September ’23, 162 crore pink tickets have been distributed.
To combat discrimination, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Limited (DIMTS) have employed 62 female bus drivers. Despite these measures, the government acknowledges the unfortunate instances of discrimination and asserts its commitment to taking corrective actions promptly. The Delhi Transport Minister, Kailash Gahlot, has directed officials to implement measures, including deploying over 200 traffic teams, sensitizing bus drivers, and creating a centralized database to prevent incidents of drivers not stopping for women passengers at bus stops.
(With PTI inputs)