In response to ‘Metro Man’ Dr E Sreedharan’s letter to PM Narendra Modi requesting him to “not agree to the Delhi government’s proposal of free travel for women in the Metro”, Delhi’s Deputy CM Manish Sisodia wrote to Sreedharan, saying “he’s surprised and pained” by his viewpoint. Explaining the proposal, Sisodia wrote, “The Delhi government will buy around a million coupons in bulk from the DMRC on a daily basis and provide these to women… Why should anyone have any objection to that?”
He said the Delhi government’s intention is to ensure women’s safety and encourage use of public transport in the capital to reduce air pollution. Sisodia called it a “revolutionary step to empower women”.
He said that after the completion of Phase III of the DMRC, services were designed to have a capacity of 40 lakh passengers daily. Sisodia pointed at ridership figures in his letter to Sreedharan and said, “Figures, however, show that DMRC is catering to an average ridership of less than 25 lakh daily… Delhi Metro is running at less than 65% efficiency, and this is pretty bad performance”.
He also asked Sreedharan to “reconsider his stand and give his blessings for the progressive step”. “By DMRC’s own admission, free ridership for women will increase women ridership by 50%. Delhi Metro should celebrate this…,” he said. Sisodia claimed that “high fares” is one of the main reasons behind falling ridership.
AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said that “only one change needs to be made to the software… and the entry gates meant for male travellers should be programmed to reject pink smart cards or tokens issued to women”.