AIADMK which seeks a third term has promised to provide a 50 per cent fare concession for women passengers in the town buses if they were voted back to power. DMK has assured free travel for women in the government town buses in its manifesto.
The poll promises for women bus passengers comes at a time the state transport undertakings are witnessing a steep fall in their patronage over the last few years.
The average number of passengers travelled in the Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses in the city has come down from 47 lakh per day in 2016-17 to 30.86 lakh per day in 2019-20 after a steep hike in the bus ticket fares in 2018. The patronage came down further to about 19 lakh per day following the outbreak of coronavirus.
Experts say that offering free travel and reduction of fares in the buses would certainly boost public transportation.
J Sivasubramanian, manager – Transport Systems, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) said that 77 per cent of trips by women in Indian cities are by walk, cycle, or public transport as per census results.
“This means that most women are more dependent on mobility services provided by the city, as compared to men. Many women do not have the financial freedom to decide their mode of transportation. Subsidies for women commuters is a welcome step. The freedom to be able to travel affordably aids the independence of women, prompting them to step out more and ensures higher participation in the workforce as well,” he said.