THE number of women workforce has increased notably in the city. Women's mobility has also increased due to changes in the pattern of society and family. So, at the present context, the age-old system to keep three to five seats in a public transport reserved for women is not realistic. The entire bus service needs to be redesigned from gender perspective to make the streets more women friendly -- nonetheless for all passengers.
It has been a tradition that drivers pick and drop passengers always in running condition of public buses in the middle of roads. This cannot be considered minimum service for passengers, and this kind of behaviour of drivers and helpers deprive women passengers mostly of the benefit of public transports. They often refuse to take women passengers on board. Whenever a bus comes to a stand in running condition, the helper does not allow women to get in saying that there is no seat vacant for woman. At the present context, the two or three seats, which are usually placed in the awkward spaces -- like beside the drivers' seat or close to the engine of the bus -- are not enough to accommodate the increasing number of women passengers.
I have to avail myself of bus services often to come to my office and for movements on other social purposes. I often get into arguments with male passengers on the issue. Their point is that the courtesy we, women, claim from them is a contradiction to women's rights as equals and that women must stand like them on their own. We also do not contradict their point. But there is a need to develop a mentality to allow women to move and behave like men and to give them space showing respect. Our male passengers have forgotten the rights they earn against each ticket.
The entire bus service is running in the country without any discipline and effort to provide minimum passenger comfort. The drivers and helpers think that whatever the amount they take as fare is enough for a passenger to get inside. They try to pick more and more passengers even when the buses are totally filled up. Hard break, frequent right or left turning in the street and high speed cause serious inconveniences to passengers as all these do not let them sit or stand properly. When a passenger pays some money for a bus to take to a destination, he or she deserves quality service. It was hoped that after the launching of luxurious buses there would be a change in the city bus services. But no positive change has come about. The drivers of these buses are also driving recklessly ignoring the inconveniences of passengers due to lack of training.
All authorities concerned should look into this important issue and take corrective actions to make the journey by public transports safe and sound for both male and female passengers.