• Post online petition, redBus commits to enhancing safety measures for women

    Here is the perfect example of a woman forcing an organisation to sit up and take notice of women’s safety.  Bengaluru-based Rashmi Bachani had one bad experience on a bus, and she decided not to let the matter rest. She was once was travelling from Goa to Bangalore when she was allegedly molested by the driver on-board a bus she booked through redBus.

    Describing the incident when the bus reached Majestic stop, Rashmi told The News Minute, “I woke up to the driver squeezing my chest. I was horrified and did not know how to react. I just took my bags and left. redBus did not have any information regarding the driver. So I had to resort to filing a complaint at the Majestic Police Station.”

    Bachani then decided to start a nationwide online campaign by booking a petition on Change.org two months ago, highlighting women safety issues on board private buses plying between cities. Her campaign generated tremendous response, with signatures that read like this:

    Supporters Post

    RedBus in a blog acknowledged Rashmi’s plea and stated that they were “attempting to put together a comprehensive system for resolution of problems associated with safety of women travellers“. The number of signatures though kept growing.

    Supporters Post

    Supporters Post

    Also read: Panic buttons in handsets: Govt sets Jan 2017 deadline

    As the campaign gained ground, more and more people came out to support her demand, urging the redBus authorities to look into few matters like listing such as drivers’ background verification and the steps to be taken for ensuring women’s safety before, during and after travel.

    Supporters Post

    Finally with the number of signatures having reached a massive number of 1.4 lakh over a sustained campaign of two months, redBus finally has commited to enhancing its safety measures for women during bus travel.

    Rashmi Bachani's post

    Elated Rashmi Bachani’s post after redBus committed to enhancing its safety for women travellers (Pic By change.org)

    While exclusive talking with SheThePeople.TV, Rashmi Bachani says, “Women need to stop brushing these incidents under the carpet. Things happen. Sexual harassment is an unfortunate reality all women have faced, I’m yet to come across a girl who wasn’t abused in any way at least once in her life. If it happens as a child, there’s not much you can do. But if it happens when you’re an adult and you still stay quiet about it, you are letting these predators know they can get away with treating women in any way they like.”

    Supporters Post

    “Step out – speak about it. People will listen. If the authorities don’t listen – speak louder. redBus was able to dismiss my case initially as it was a one-off that caught the eye of the CEO, though once it became a loud voice of almost 1.5lakh people they had to pay attention. And since they’ve included a “Sexual Harassment” feedback form on their website, I’m sure there will be many other cases that surface. I’m glad redBus has taken the appeal seriously and I look forward to the measures detailed being implemented in the coming months”, Rashmi added.

    The Redbus team discussed the issue in a blog post on Wednesday and disclosed the following final resolution of problems associated with the safety of women travellers:

    • GPS-enabled buses, live tracking, CCTV cameras, background verification of staff, and sharing of rest stop information with customers as well as driver details and emergency numbers.
    • A feedback email would also be sent out specifically to women passengers, using the Redbus platform, to collect information about the ride.
    • Private bus operators currently do not have fixed guidelines or rules mandating the fitting of GPS systems or CCTV cameras. However, this has been discussed generally in meetings held by the Transport Department.

    “We applaud Rashmi for courageously bringing the issue of women safety to the forefront. RedBus fully supports this cause. While we do not not own or operate buses, we have undertaken several measures within our control to help improve passenger safety, especially for women travellers,” redBus’s CEO Prakash Sangam wrote, as reported by TOI.

    Also read: Towards women safety: 35000 CCTV cameras in 1000 railway stations

    We asked few women travellers in Bangalore who often travel in buses for work purpose and got their opinion about the matter:

    “I think this is a very good move by redBus. This gives us a ray of hope towards a safer bus ride especially when we travel alone.”, says 25-year-old Anjana Ramakrishnan.

    “Kudos to Rashmi Bachani for taking such a huge step towards women safety. We all have high hopes on the outcome of this change,”says 27-year-old Debarati Dev.

    When a platform like Change.org is helping people to start campaigning on issues that concern them, hope the new changes by RedBus will serve its purpose so that women like Rashmi Bachani don’t have to suffer such cases of molestation again.

    Feature Image Credit: thehindu

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