On February 7th, BMTC celebrated the 61st edition of Bus day at Yelahanka. Five BMTC buses have been equipped with alarms that can be used by women and children, in case they feel threatened or harassment while on the bus. Two new Chakra services were also introduced to provide better connectivity within Yelahanka. The event was attended by Transport Minister, Ramalinga Reddy, SR Vishwanth, MLA of Yelahanka, H Nabhiraja Jain, BMTC Chairman, VS Aradhya, Vice-Chairman of BMTC and Dr Ekroop Caur, the Managing Director of BMTC.
Installation of alarms to make travel safer for women
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Since a large number of complaints about sexual harassment have been reported in spite of the various initiatives taken for women’s safety, the BMTC has considered ramping up security on buses, on the suggestion of an NGO called Durga. The Durga alarm is a step in that direction.
Read more here: BMTC buses to get safer with the Durga alarm.
The alarm will be installed in five BMTC buses (Route No: 238U – Ambedkar College to KBS Route No: TR12 – Srinagara Bus Stand to Basaveshwara Nagara Bus Stand Route No: 18 – 9th Block Jayanagara to KBS Route No: 401R – BEML 5th Stage to Yelahanka Route No: 27E – Shivajinagar to JP Nagar) on a pilot basis in February and plans are currently underway to increase this number.
While the cost of wiring a bus with the alarm mechanism costs Rs 8,000 in the pilot run, Priya Varadarajan, founder of Durga believes that the cost can be brought down to Rs 5,000 if they are manufactured in bulk. BMTC in its press release stated that if results of the pilot run were positive, that it would ‘start working on [on implementing it] in full scale’.
Initiatives taken up by BMTC for safety of women passengers
In a programme organised by BMTC from April to October of 2014, Vimochana, Samarpana, Mahila mattu Makkala Kalyana Elakhe and a number of other NGOs together imparted Gender Sensitisation Training to over 15,000 of their employees.
As a part of the programme, the BMTC crew was educated on what constitutes sexual harassment, their responsibilities and duties for safety of women passengers, and the measures to be taken in case of an incident of sexual harassment
During the Women Passengers Safety Week organised from December 22nd to 27th, as a valedictory function for the training programme, one trainee from each depot was awarded as the Best Training Participant. Street plays were performed at all the bus stands and depots to raise awareness about psychological impact on the victims of sexual harassment.
The pamphlets distributed during this week in bus stops as well as in schools and colleges, informed citizens about the various measures BMTC has taken to make bus-journeys safer for women and about the responsibilities of fellow passengers. The pamphlet noted that any person accused of sexual harassment – which includes touching or pushing on purpose, improper gazing, indecent gesturing, using vulgar language, clicking pictures without permission, occupying seats reserved for women etc – can be tried under Indian Penal Code, Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Places (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013, and in case of children, also under Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act 2012.
Apart from reassuring the women and instructing them to raise an alarm to the driver, conductor and fellow passengers in case of trouble, the pamphlet also addressed the male passengers, reminding them that a male occupying a seat reserved for women can be fined Rs 100.
BMTC has also set up a 24×7 call centre that can be reached by a woman who feels unsafe in the bus by calling the toll-free number 1800-425-1663 and dialling ‘2’. The complainant will then receive an SMS with a complaint number, along with an assurance that relevant action will be taken. The chief security and vigilance officers will be alerted, and in case they are not in a position to act, the matter will be escalated to the security and vigilance director. Details about the person registering such a complaint will be kept confidential.
CCTV cameras have been installed in the main bus-stands and in over 500 buses so far, and will be installed in the rest in the coming days.
Yelahanka gets two new chakra services
BMTC also inaugurated two new chakra services to enhance internal connectivity in Yelahanka. Midi-buses have been assigned to operate clockwise and anti-clockwise on two schedules on each of the following two routes:
- Route No. Chakra-10: From Allalasandra Janapriya Apartment to Allasandra Janapriya Apartment, via NES, Yelahanka, Kogilu cross, Maruthi Nagar, Kogilu, Ittige factory, Bellelli cross, KNS College, Heggade Nagara, Thanisandra, Saraipalya, Nagavara signal, Manyata tech park, Veerannapalya, Hebbal, Dairy gate, Byatarayanapura, Allalasandra railway gate, Yelahanka, and Yelahanka police Station.
- Route No. Chakra 10A: Also from Allalasandra Janapriya Apartment to Allalasandra Janapriya Apartment, but via Kogilu cross, Allalasandra railway gate, Byatarayanapura, Dairy gate, Hebbal, Veerannapalya, Manyata tech park, Nagawara signal, Saraipalya, Thanisandra, Heggade Nagara, KNS College, Bellelli cross, Ittige factory, Kogilu, Maruthi Nagar, Kogilu cross, Yelahanka, Yelahanka police Station.
Two more schedules have been added to the nine presently operating on Route No. 402B from Yelahanka 5th phase to K.B.S. In addition, six of the 12 schedules presently operating on route number Big10-9 from Yelahanka 5th phase to MG Road Metro Station via S.F.S, Dairy circle, Yelahanka upanagara BMTC, have been rescheduled under route number Big10-9A. Big 10-9A will operate between Yelahanka 5th phase and MG Road Metro Station, via Yelahanka 4th phase, Government school, S.F.S, Dairy circle and Yelahanka Upanagara.
The list of scheduled numbers was published along with their respective departure time at Yelahanka Upanagar Bus Station and Yelahanka 5th Phase Bus Station.