Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hop on ladies, for a pink ride

Hop on ladies, for a pink ride
The Times of India

Bangalore: If you thought perky pink was a favourite only with Preity Zinta on a two-wheeler, think again. BMTC is gearing up to introduce buses exclusively for ladies painted in a metallic hue of pink.

Designed as per the CM’s orders, this bus is among the two new bus prototypes which will make bus travel in the city a hassle-free experience for women.
While one bus is an exclusive ladies’ bus, the other has separate entries and demarcated segments for men and women. The buses are likely to be launched on August 15.

Ladies’ special
The buses, which are undergoing finishing touches in the workshops, will be pink in colour with boards clearly stating that these are meant only for ladies. With standing space for 20, this 48-seater bus will initially ply on select routes between 8 am and 8 pm. “The idea is to capture the peak-hour traffic,” said BMTC managing director Upendra Tripathy.

Women conductors from among BMTC’s current force of over 1,100 will be posted on these buses. While most of the features are similar to regular buses, it’s the seats that grab your attention. Each blue-coloured seat has been designed for comfort. “We have spent Rs 4,000 on each seat,” says an official.
BMTC plans to introduce more buses after the initial 12. “We can introduce more only if women take the initiative to travel in these buses. Even if it means waiting that five minutes extra, they should,” said chief traffic manager Dastagir Shareiff.

The routes of the buses will be printed in bright stickers in both Kannada and English. BMTC is in the process of finalising routes based on an internal survey. The fare is not likely to vary from the regular buses. The three-door funda

This new bus has three doors — one in front, rear and a double-door in the centre. Women and men enter from the double door in two lines separated by a wall, ensuring no physical contact between the two. The women proceed to sit in the front segment, while men sit in the rear. The seating for senior citizens has been provided behind the conductor.

When the passengers want to alight, the women use the front exit and the men use the rear exit. There are 14 seats for women, 28 for men and three for senior citizens.

This bus will be initially introduced on the 25 grid routes. “It’s not possible to do away with the current force, but we do hope the complaints from women will reduce once we introduce this bus,” say officials.

The bus also boasts of a speaker announcement system that will announce the next stop and
alert the bus in case the door is open.

C O M P L A I N T S G A L O R E
Women commuting in BMTC buses aren’t a happy lot. “I see men occupying women’s seats all the time. Not just do they refuse to budge, but conducters too turn a blind eye when we complain,” says Kavitha Shanmugam, who travels to Electronic City everyday, mostly standing.


That’s not all, men jostling for space results in uncomfortable proximity with the women. “The lack of space is a great excuse for men to paw women. And
conductors are useless,” says Neha Bhasin, a regular commuter.

WHAT WOMEN WANT
* Impose fines strictly for men who occupy a women’s seat.
* Educate drivers and conductors regarding rules and regulations along with manners, cultures and ethics.
* Regular inspection by officers.
* Recruit more women, in both senior officer category and conductors. * Introduce a queue system in all bus stops, especially crowded bus stands like Kempegowda, Shivajinagar etc.
* Allot more seats for women.

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