“Free welcome, no insults”: the behavior of the bus staff upsets the commuter women
âI used to spend at least Rs 50 per day traveling on public transport. The new initiative has helped me save on my meager monthly salary of just 5,000 rupees. However, some people see this as a burden and curse us on the buses. I have faced disrespectful treatment from drivers and drivers on several occasions, âsaid R Kasturi from Manali, who works in a sewing company.
Regular commuters point out that when the seats are occupied by them, male passengers make humiliating comments that free passengers can sit while they have to travel standing, etc. Priya (name changed), a student, said: âRecently, when I traveled with a friend from the 38D Tiruvottiyur-Kodugaiyur bus, the driver asked if we were going to college or elsewhere in a sneaky way. Never in the past has anyone asked such inappropriate questions, and this has been repeated twice. Although we made a verbal complaint to the bus depot authority, no action was taken. ”
Female passengers also complain that drivers sometimes do not even call out the location of the bus stop to those who do not know and often refrain from issuing the free tickets, which they are supposed to do. âWhen we ask them for free tickets they don’t respond and if we ask them more than twice they yell at us and say they are only concerned about the paid tickets,â said Shanthi R, a resident of Velachery.
âIf the state government decides to implement free bus rides for women, it is not fair for the driver and driver to be rude to female passengers. It is not their money. They receive a salary for their work, âsaid Lalitha Kumaramangalam, former chairperson of the National Commission for Women.
She said the government should provide a portal for online complaints on these issues and women should come forward to make their voices heard. And there must be some sort of name and shame for the drivers and drivers who insult women.
The chairperson of the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women, Dr Kannegi Packianathan, said the department had not received any formal complaints on the matter after the implementation of free travel. âThere is no need to issue separate tickets for women and even verification is not necessary. Why should they ask questions when the government allows them free rides. ”
Meanwhile, senior officials at the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) – Chennai have confirmed receiving complaints from female passengers. “Action is taken immediately by inquiring with the respective driver or driver,” an official said.