The Delhi government’s proposed public transport fare exemption scheme is likely to also cover women Metro commuters whose point of origin and destination stations fall outside the boundaries of the national capital. The Metro network spans 373 km across Delhi and NCR cities like Gurgaon, Faridabad, Bahadurgarh and Ballabhgarh in Haryana and Noida and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.
Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said the government intends to extend the waiver to women travelling between NCR cities after being informed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) that such commuters make up for not more than 3-4% of the total ridership. “We are holding meetings on a daily basis. In some cases, women travel to NCR cities from Delhi. There is no confusion regarding them. But we are still considering the case of those whose origin and destinations both fall outside Delhi. But most probably, the scheme will cover them as well,” Gahlot said.
A senior government official said that initially, there were suggestions to extend the waiver to only those who enter the Metro system through a station located in Delhi.“But then, working professionals routinely travel to Noida and Gurgaon from Delhi. It will be absurd to not extend the benefits to those who will return to Delhi from those NCR cities after work,” the official said.
While the modalities of the proposal are still being drafted, the government has also decided that it will now take in suggestions and feedback from the public till June 30, pushing the deadline by a fortnight.
Till Monday, around 3,700 suggestions were sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, said Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC) vice-chairperson Jasmine Shah. The DDC has been tasked by the government with collating and analysing the feedback.
Gahlot also said that while there is no potential difficulty in implementing the proposal in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses, the ETMs (Electronic Ticketing Machines) may have to be tweaked to make the transition seamless. “A ‘woman’ option will have to be added in the software that runs those machines so that a passenger willing to avail the scheme is not charged,” Gahlot said.
The Transport Department was directed by Gahlot to prepare a Cabinet note on the proposal by June 11.