She was travelling from Goa to Bangalore when she was allegedly molested by the driver of the Seabird Travels bus

Bengaluru girl petitions redBus to improve safety after harassment by driver
news Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 18:59

“Apparently a girl sleeping alone on a single berth equals easy prey, and the driver felt I was up for “grabs”, so to speak,” reads the petition started by Rashmi Bachani, where she appeals to redBus to strengthen the security measures to make bus travel safer for women travellers.

She was travelling from Goa to Bangalore when she was allegedly molested by the driver of the Seabird Travels bus. She argues that women travelling alone have to endure the creepy stares of the bus drivers and conductors, put up with the lack of basic facilities like toilets in buses, and respite from all this is possible only if the bus operators themselves implement certain initiatives.

Elaborating on the incident that happened 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.”

Rashmi decided to drop charges against the driver, at that point, as she was concerned about the larger picture. She repeatedly tried to reach redBus through email but was met with a standard response but no real intent to implement the ideas.

Prakash Sangam, CEO of redBus, in response to the petition has said, “We understand that apart from being a clear violation of the law, such incidents are against the principles of equality and right to life and these should be handled appropriately,” and added that the organization is taking initiatives by stating, “Driver/helper training programs and make them sensitive to problems faced by single women, families with children and senior citizens during bus travel and to respond appropriately.” 

Rashmi, however questions the CEO’s response. “They have not really addressed the issues but have simply blown the trumpet of redBus. They are obviously skirting around the issue. Why are they so reluctant to add a ‘women harassment’ clause if they are keen on addressing the issue?” she asked.

Rashmi, through her petition, appeals to redBus to make traveler’s safety their top priority and petitions for a more transparent system where the owners, drivers and the staff are held accountable for their actions by the bus operator. She calls for complete background verification and a list of drivers and other staff with their photos on the online portal, along with a rating card. 

“Orientation while hiring - with the penalties for all misbehaviour clearly spelled out - this includes drinking whilst driving, stealing from passengers, misbehaving, sexual harassment,” states Rashmi in her petition. She calls for the complete schedule of the plying buses to be provided, and the installation of an emergency complaint system on the redBus mobile application.

 

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