In a significant move to empower women and promote inclusivity, the Karnataka government has declared that women will be able to travel for free on government buses throughout the state. The announcement was made by Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy following a meeting with officials at the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) office in Shantinagar, Bengaluru.
During the media interaction, Minister Reddy emphasized that the government’s election manifesto did not differentiate between Above Poverty Line (APL) or Below Poverty Line (BPL) cardholders. Consequently, women from all economic backgrounds will enjoy the benefit of traveling without paying any ticket charges on KSRTC buses across Karnataka. Reddy further stated that he would submit a report on this matter to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who would then take the final decision on its implementation.
In the meeting held at the Shantinagar KSRTC office, officials raised concerns regarding the financial implications of providing free bus travel to women. They estimated that this initiative would cost the corporation approximately Rs 3200 crore annually. Given that four KSRTC corporations are already operating at a loss, the officials requested that the government allocate grants to cover these expenses, thereby ensuring the sustainability of the program.
The decision to offer free bus travel to women statewide reflects the government’s commitment to fostering gender equality and facilitating access to public transportation. By removing the financial barrier associated with ticket charges, women from all walks of life will have the opportunity to travel conveniently and independently. This initiative is expected to have a far-reaching impact on women’s mobility, enhancing their socio-economic opportunities and overall well-being.