Women can now travel free of cost in Delhi metro and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced in a press conference on Monday. "On all DTC buses, cluster buses and metro trains women will be allowed to travel free of cost so that they have a safe travel experience and can access modes of transport which they were not able to, due to high prices," Kejriwal said.
The Delhi chief minister said that the subsidy given to female passengers would not be imposed on anyone but encouraged to buy tickets to women, who can afford it.
“Subsidy won't be imposed on anyone. There are several women who can afford these modes of transport. Those who can afford, can purchase tickets, they needn't take subsidy. We encourage those, who can afford, to buy tickets and not take subsidy so that others could benefit,” he said.
The move, which will come into effect once cleared by requisite authorities, will cost the Delhi government Rs. 700 crore this year, the cheif minister said, adding that officials have been given a week's time to prepare a detailed proposal on the scheme's implementation.
"I've given one-week time to officials to make a detailed proposal - for both DTC & metro - on how & when can this be implemented. We're making an effort to start this within 2-3 months. We're also seeking suggestions from people, regarding implementation," he said.
The AAP leader also accused the Narendra Modi-led central government of rejecting his demand to not hike the metro ticket fare or give subsidy on the increased fare in 50-50 partnership with the Delhi government.
"Initially we'd told Centre not to increase prices of tickets, they didn't agree. We told them we've 50-50 partnership, let's give 50-50 subsidy on raised prices, they didn't agree. Delhi govt will bear the fare of what we're going to do.We needn't take approval for this," Kejriwal added.
The populist move by the Aam Aadmi Party government came days after it failed to win a single seat in the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi and ahead of Assembly elections, schedulled to be held in February 2020.