Free bus travel scheme for women needs financial support from government, extra buses, and staff: Report

May 31, 2023 10:02 pm | Updated 10:02 pm IST - Bengaluru


As the Congress-led State government is getting set to introduce free travel for women in ordinary buses, in the review meeting held on Wednesday, State Road Transport Corporation (RTC) officials submitted a report on implementing the scheme to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, indicating that it can be implemented with not only additional financial help of State government but also increased staff and fleet.

“According to the report, the RTCs have to spend ₹4,220 crore annually to implement the scheme,” said the officials. The four RTCs have to also induct 4,028 new buses and recruit 13,793 crew if the scheme is implemented, said the report.

“The scheme needs more funding from the government since at least 50% of the passengers travelling on the RTCs are women. All the ticketing revenue from the women passengers will be lost to the scheme, hence the officials from the RTCs have requested to give additional funds to implement the scheme,” senior officials from KSRTC told The Hindu.

RTCs have to also increase the bus fleet and staff to successfully implement the scheme, according to officials. “Since the daily ridership may increase by at least 10% after the scheme is implemented, the bus fleet and staff have to be increased to give good service to passengers. The corporations may have to spend on issuing smart cards to women passengers,” the official said.

Four options given

Minister for Transport Ramalinga Reddy said that the officials from four RTC’s have given their report on the scheme where four types of options have been given to the government. “Our officials have submitted various options and also the cost estimations to the Chief Minister and the Cabinet on Friday will decide which option will be suitable to implement the scheme. There will be no loss to the corporations since the government will reimburse the cost spent on the women’s free ride scheme,” Mr. Reddy told The Hindu.

On increasing the fleet of buses and recruiting more crew, Mr. Reddy said that already RTC has decided to procure 4,249 new buses in this financial year.

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