The Bangalore Traffic Police (BTP) has taken up the responsibility of fining men who sit on women’s seats even if the bus is empty. The goal, the police said, is to improve discipline onboard BMTC buses.
Two people have been fined by the traffic police for violating the rule, with a penalty amounting to Rs. 100, according to a report in Bangalore Mirror.
However, a senior traffic police official told Bangalore Mirror that people are not very happy with the practice as it leads to delays.
Currently, the seating layout in BMTC buses is usually divided into three sections: The front section reserved for women, the seats around the rear door (Usually in the centre for most buses) reserved for senior citizens and disabled people, and the rear section for men. Women are allowed to enter from the front door and men from the rear door.
The Logical Indian Take
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Shaheen Shasa, a member of the Bengaluru Bus Commuter Forum said, “Commuters are usually not aware of seat reservations. The rule can be enforced only if there are women standing due to men occupying reserved seats, but such measures will not really help. Staffers need to be sensitized and public awareness should be spread amongst passengers.”
On being asked if Traffic Police should be involved in the drill, Shasa said, “It would be better if the civilian police could take care of these matters, as they are better equipped to handle these issues. Ideally, it is the conductor who has the right to take actions.”
Although the rule may have been passed with good intentions to ensure women’s safety as well as making sure that they avail seats reserved for them, it comes off as very harsh for people who sit on the reserved seats, even if the bus is empty or there is no woman standing in the bus.
BMTC buses remain the primary source of commute for citizens, ferrying around 50 lakh people every day, and such decisions could make the commute for both genders inconvenient. Until and unless women have a problem with getting a reserved seat, the rule seems unnecessary and could lead to mismanagement of crowd.