Under the proposal announced by the Delhi government, women will have the option to not pay for rides. The move has drawn reactions ranging from enthusiastic approval to vehement rejection.
Precedents in the world
Germany, France, Belgium, and Estonia have taken initiatives to make public transport free, either for the entire population or for sections such as students or senior citizens. Luxembourg has pledged to become the first country to make public transport free for everybody by 2020. Free public transport will lead decongestion and affordability.
Reasons given by the Delhi government are different
One, to make it easier for women to move from informal and more unsafe modes of transport such as shared autos and cabs to more formal and safer modes such as the Metro.
Two, to help more women enter the workforce. A report in 2018 prepared by the Delhi Labour Department found that of the 19.6 lakh workers engaged in trading, service and the manufacturing sector in the city, only 11.4% were women, and nearly half of them worked as “informal hired workers”.