Mumbai (The Hindu): The State Cabinet on Tuesday approved a special exclusive public transport bus system for women in five municipal corporations in the State: Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivali and Nagpur.
The 300 Tejaswini buses for the five civic bodies is expected to cost the state exchequer Rs. 90 crore. In the current fiscal, Rs. 50 crore will be made available for the project. The buses will ply from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Ticket rates will be normal, but the Municipal Corporation concerned may take the final call on rates, sitting arrangements and bus timings.
The Cabinet has made it mandatory for buses plying under this scheme to follow all environmental norms. The buses will be equipped with CCTV cameras, a television set and a Public Announcement System. The driver and conductor of the buses will most probably be women.
An official said, “Women are increasingly travelling to far off places for professional and educational purposes. The Tejaswini buses are meant to provide relief to women from inadequate transportation facilities.”
Depite many of the 27 Municipal Corporations in State having their own transport system, travelling is a nightmare for women. The State announced the bus service in its 2016-17 budget.
Ashok Datar, a specialist in public transport, said, “Anything related to public transport and for women is always a good thing. However, the civic bodies must start the service in areas where it is needed the most and will benefit women the maximum.
“While it is not a good sign in our society that we have to start special buses for women’s safety, it is a reality and we cannot deny. I feel it is a good step from the government and all of us should welcome it.”
Women travellers also hailed the decision. Rima Paranjape, 30, a resident of Thane, said, “I travel from Mulund to Andheri daily. The commute turns a nightmare due to overcrowded buses and the bad condition of roads. I hope to see some changes if we get a special bus on this route.”
Pooja Yadav, 32, a lawyer, said, “Overcrowded buses provide men an opportunity to misbehave with women. This initiative will surely help to tackle this problem.”
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