While the Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has proposed to give free metro rides to women, it is yet to fulfil an election promise of providing concessional passes on buses and in the metro for senior citizens, students and persons with disabilities.
The Aam Aadmi Party headed by Arvind Kejriwal in its 2015 manifesto had promised several initiatives to senior citizens, students and persons with disability. It had promised to provide concessional passes on buses and in the metro in addition to developing the Ring Rail service in Delhi.
However, the Delhi government failed to deliver any of the promises it had put up in its manifesto before the assembly elections. Before the municipal elections in 2017, the Delhi government had again promised free rides in DTC and cluster buses for senior citizens and students up to 21 years of age. But it was soon forgotten after the elections.
Instead, the government led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has come up with a freebie proposal to appease women voters by giving them free metro rides ahead of the 2020 Delhi assembly elections.
After a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that women be allowed to travel free of cost in all DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) buses, Cluster buses and metro trains in Delhi. According to Kejriwal’s rationale, free metro and DTC bus rides would ensure that women can have safe travel experience, and access mores of transport which they were not able to do so due to high prices.
The Delhi government’s populist policy ahead of the 2020 Delhi assembly elections had received widespread criticism across from various sectors of the society. ‘Metro man’ E Sreedharan had slammed the policy and labelled it as an electoral gimmick. He had elaborated on the reasons why the move will prove to be catastrophic for not only Delhi Metro but Metros in other cities without enhancing women’ security in any manner.
On the matter of safety for women, the ‘Metroman’ had said, “By giving free travel, the safety of women commuters is not at all enhanced. What about their safety once they step out of the metro and encounter lurking dangers on the road for want of safe link bus services? This is the area your Govt. should spend money and not fund free travel.”
He has earlier written to the Prime Minister too objecting to the Delhi government’s decision.