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Delhi govt ties up with Harvard, World Bank to study impact of free bus rides for women

The study will attempt to understand the effect of free rides on the safety and mobility of women in the national capital.

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New Delhi: The AAP government in Delhi is set to collaborate with Harvard University and the World Bank to study the impact of its decision to provide free rides to women in the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses, ThePrint has learnt.

The government’s advisory body, Dialogue and Development Commission, will conduct the study along with research teams from Harvard and World Bank in order to understand effect of free rides on the safety and mobility of women.

DDC vice-chairman Jasmin Shah confirmed the development.

Asked if the study would have any impact on the implementation of the scheme, he clarified, “It’s just an impact study… Will go on parallel to the implementation. No change on that front.”

He said the team would study the long and short-term impact of  free bus travel, adding that this is the first-of-its-kind policy experiment in the world. “Such a move in Delhi could have larger implications globally as well,” Shah further said.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier announced that the Free Bus Travel for Women scheme will be implemented from 29 October.


Also read: DTC estimated to lose Rs 300 crore/year if AAP’s free ride scheme for women is implemented


Study to focus on 800 women

The research design will use primary data collected from a sample of approximately 800 women living across Delhi.

The data will be collected through an initial household baseline survey as well as repeated telephone surveys before and after the launch of the policy. The data will include a travel diary as well as questions on observed and experienced incidents related to women safety in public transport.

In addition, the research team will collect data on bus ridership separately on the basis of gender through direct observation in selected bus stops throughout Delhi, both before and after the policy.

The study method will analyse the mobility patterns and perceived safety before and after the launch of the policy, using several comparison groups of individuals less likely to be impacted by the policy. These groups will include women and also men who travel regularly but do not use buses. The research will also study the overall effect of the policy through the change in the ridership pattern of women in buses.

The research team consists of World Bank economist Dr. Girija Borker, Dev Patel and Dr. Gabriel Kreindler of Harvard University.

“Our research team is enthusiastic to conduct a rigorous study of the impact of the policy to make bus travel free for women in Delhi,” Kreindler said. “We are grateful for the support for our study from the Delhi government and the DDC, and we aim to produce valuable policy lessons applicable in Delhi as well as in other cities that seek to improve women’s mobility and safety while travelling.”


Also read: Forget free pass, DTC will have just 204 buses by 2025 as Kejriwal hasn’t bought any


 

 

 

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