NEW DELHI: About 80.2% of women bus users surveyed during a study reported instances of the public transporters not halting for them at designated stops, a report by Greenpeace India released Tuesday said.
While 29% of the respondents faced such instances 'frequently', 50.2% said they experienced this 'occasionally' and 20.8% said they hadn't witnessed such episodes. Besides, 54.2% respondents said they were targeted with comments and faced discrimination from drivers, conductors and male passengers, especially in relation to the free bus scheme.
"Instances of buses not halting for women were reported to be more frequent on routes populated by lower-income groups, like Badarpur, Burari and Jahangirpuri," said the report. The report, titled 'Halt for women bus users in Delhi', is based on a survey of 500 women who use the service in Delhi and was conducted in June-July. Greenpeace is running a campaign to demand strengthening of public transport to reduce pollution. "The discrimination is proof of the urgent need for gender sensitisation and gender-affirmative action in our society," said Avni Goyal, activist and co-author of the report.
About 84.8% of the respondents supported the idea of inducting more women bus drivers and conductors while 91.6% backed dedicated women-only buses across Delhi. The report recommended setting up a monitoring system to ensure buses halt for women; a redressal system; installation of panic buttons; improved lighting around stops; increasing women's participation in workforce; and introduction of women-only mini-buses. Avinash Chanchal, Greenpeace India's campaign manager, said, "Building gender-sensitive public bus infrastructure, instigating behavioural shifts among workers and educating people to bridge the information gap surrounding the free bus scheme will play a crucial role in ensuring the safety, dignity and equal access of women in public transport."
A Delhi government official said, "We are strongly committed towards the well-being of women and their empowerment. To ensure women's participation in public transport, Delhi government has been providing free pink tickets. About 162 crore pink tickets have been sold till September." Currently, DTC and Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System have 62 female bus drivers to incentivise women's participation. "Delhi government has taken strong action in such complaints - even blacklisting such drivers - and will take all corrective measures to overcome such issues," added the official.
Source: The Times of India