Appeal to redBus: Make travel safer for women
I was molested by a bus driver. Apparently a girl sleeping alone on a single berth equals easy prey, and the driver felt I was up for “grabs”, so to speak.
As a girl travelling alone - how often have you experienced it - creeps in the bus who stare at you? Drivers who eye you like a piece of candy? No proper toilet to go in? Not everyone can afford travelling by flight, there isn’t always a train seat available. Bus is often the most common means of travel, and due to lack of options, we conveniently ignore ratings & reviews of buses & book the one that best meets our time / budget.
Whilst there are limited actions anyone can take to avoid creepy co-passengers, the least we can expect is a decent service by the bus operator themselves. I wrecked my mind over what would make me feel safer travelling by bus again, reached out to redBus with my suggestions, since they are the most preferred bus booking website, however the best I got was a response saying “Thank you for your suggestions, we will attempt to implement the same”. This was a couple of months ago. Since then, I haven’t seen any of the changes I asked for implemented.
We need a more transparent bus system. The drivers, staff, owner should know that they are accountable & responsible for the passengers travelling in the bus. We don’t expect 5-star (or even 3-star) treatment for a bus journey costing Rs. 800 - 1000/-, however we can expect basic facilities & respect, considering we are spending 12 - 14 hours of our lives in their care.
I’m hereby appealing to redBus to take a stand in this matter & take passenger safety as their top concern, and here are the action points I would like to see implemented:
- Background Verification of Drivers & all staff should be mandatory for listing on redBus
- List of Drivers, Staff with photo & employee id on the redBus website
- Ratings of the Driver & Staff
- Stops taken by the bus for food, breakfast etc
- Orientation whilst Hiring - with the penalties for all misbehaviour clearly spelled out - this includes Drinking whilst driving, stealing from passengers, Misbehaving, Sexual Harassment, Refusal to stop at bus stops, etc.
- Employee ID, Name, Photo (of driver, helper) clearly indicated on the bus tickets, and available on the redBus App
- The places & approx time the bus would be stopping
- An immediate & responsive emergency complaint system on the redBus App
- Phone Numbers in the Bus - clearly visible to all passengers - stating “In case of emergency / complaints, call this number”
- List of complaints that the passengers are invited to raise - Rash Driving, Drunk Driving, Misbehaviour, Harassment including Sexual Harassment - this indicates that the complaint will be taken seriously and the numbers are not there for formality only, which often get ignored.
- On website, a complaints resolution system that is continuously monitored & invites people to talk about their issues - enumerating things that will indeed be addressed.
- A phone number to call in case of any harassment issues such as mine
Our current means for dealing with sexual harassment is to keep it quiet and get the least number of people involved (preferably none). Alternatively, to physically assault the offender and walk away with the belief that “I did my part, that pervert will never look at another woman again”. If the providers / aggregators can acknowledge that stuff like this does happen and put in place measures for preventing & dealing with defaulters, it would be one step towards a safer travel, and avoid the problem altogether.
I believe that redBus cannot wash their hands clean by saying “it is the responsibility of the bus operator” and leave it at that - at this rate its just a few months before we have a rape case. Why put passengers in the situation when it can be avoided by simple steps?
If the railways can adopt instant complaint resolutions through Twitter / SMS - why can't a tech-focussed startup do the same?
- CEO, redBus
- CEO, ibibo
Hi there, I had written in to you about these points in Feb, have not seen any importance given to women's passengers since then. Lets not be a silent observer to the problems in our country & help bring about a change in the existing systems.
To help aid my cause I have reached out to fellow travellers & fellow Indians - expect you to take necessary action.
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