Public transport, specifically the bus transport, is the preferred form of transportation for the women in Bangalore as 53% of women prefer buses, followed by 36% who use their own vehicles. On an average, the experience women face with public transportation (buses and auto rickshaws) is mostly positive, with one exception – auto drivers refusing to ply the customers to the desired destination.
A majority of women support measures like random checks, enforced/dedicated ladies seating and plain clothes women policemen on buses. Around 57% of respondents face overcharging, while 43% encounter refusals and 21% face lewd comments. More than two-thirds of the women want direct police help lines for dealing with mis-behaviour during commuting.
BMTC services have come a long way since the time when they offered services through red buses. They were the first corporation in India to do away with subsidies, also the first to start Volvos and Electric buses in India. But however, there is simply not enough bus transport available at time of the night.
The Bangalore Metro System or the BMRCL shuts its services at 10 PM, unlike the Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) whose services run till 11.45 PM. In case of Metro, it may be argued that the ridership numbers are still too low to extend the services, but no such argument can be extended to BMTC. Bangalore has a huge floating population, which means there are many people landing in the city and going out of the city at odd hours. Safe and adequate public transport options are a must for these customers.
Women can be safer in Bengaluru travelling in public transports, if BMTC and BMRCL operational services are increased and proper safety measures are taken on the same. This may also be very helpful for working women.
Bangalore also has a lot of business establishments, IT and ITES enterprises and industrial units which work 24×7 catering to the needs of clients across the globe. Most companies running these offices are forced to provide transport services to their employees because of the inadequate transport facilities at night. But, if public transport facility can be made available 24×7, it would reduce the instances of drunken driving to a large extent, as people can use the public transport instead of their cabs, own cars or two wheelers. Most auto drivers fight with the commuters, refusing to drop them at their destination, etc. All these problems could be solved with the establishment of late night buses or public transport. Thus, women would also feel much safer in a train or bus than in an unknown cab or auto.
There are also instances of BMTC and BMRCL extending their services late into the night whenever there are IPL or international cricket matches. If we take a city like Mumbai, last mile connectivity even at odd hours is not an issue as the auto services are highly reliable over there. But, this is not the case with Bangalore. Thus, late night public transport option/facility can be started & it can definitely provide some relief to the hassled commuters of Bangalore, especially the working women commuters.
Recently, the Union Budget had also proposed Rs. 50 Crore for pilot testing a scheme called ‘Safety of Women in Public Road Transport’ where CCTV Camera devices were placed in buses which could act as a deterrent to an extent.
Recently, around 3 months back, BMTC started “women-only” BMTC buses which operate between Central Silk Board and Electronics City during peak hours. This is said to be the first women-only service dedicated to female employees/women techies working in the IT City.
So, these are some of the few points of which a couple of them are implemented and a few are yet to come in action, which proves that women commuters are safe to an extent travelling in public transports in Bangalore.
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