Here comes the She Bus; Women in Kerala can now travel safer
Anandi Nair (name changed), who lives in the suburbs of the Kerala capital, was happy that she found a new job at one of the government-run institutions. However, the happiness wasn’t too big to celebrate as her office happened to be 38 km away from home. That meant almost an hour of travelling to reach office and another hour to get back home in the evening.
Mornings were fine, but catching a bus, or two on some days, after work so as to reach back home proved to be a tough task. But then, a government job came with such irritants, she consoled herself. It wasn’t smooth on all days, though. Travelling in overcrowded buses brought to her the harsh realities of how a man treated a woman in fully-literate Kerala.
Almost all the buses she travelled in, came with anti social elements. From lewd comments to near molestation inside the moving vehicle, she was subjected to the worst experiences hitherto unheard of. The young lady now thinks she should reconsider her decision to take up the job that required travelling.
Anandi Nair is not alone. For all the womenfolk who undergo harassment on the street and elsewhere, Kerala has brought forward a unique means of peaceful travel.
Post-success of the round-the-clock women taxi network called She-Taxi, the Gender Park, an autonomous body functioning with the blessings of the state administration has now launched a new concept that will operate buses for women, and will be manned by women too.
Christened She Bus, the venture is the new buzz in Kerala, where atrocities against women happen almost all the time. The concept aims at making sure that the womenfolk are able to travel safe, away from all the ill treatment meted out o them on the street and in public transport vehicles.
Lauded as a prime example of women safety measures, She Bus also has attracted applause from the World Bank in terms of ample support. M K Muneer , State Minister for Social Justice, has been quoted by news sources as saying that the success of She-Taxi as a safe travel option for women has given the administration the confidence in floating the She Bus concept.
To be rolled out in Trivandrum and then in Kochi and Kozhikode without much delay, the She Bus project will operate air-conditioned low-floor buses that would ply between select points in these cities and could be expanded to more routes later on.
The buses will sport a handful of women friendly features and technologies that would ensure ultimate safety to the passengers. Further, ticket rates will also be kept nominal.
Yet another positive feature that the She Bus project would bring along would be the opportunity for women drivers and other staff to drive their way into the mainstream. She Bus is one project Kerala really looks forward to at the moment. Every woman who has travelled in a public transport bus would agree.
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