Laws and provisions are made for the convenience of people but more often than not, people have to fight for their rights. The seats reserved for women, disabled and elderly in the Kerala RTC buses is one such case.
In spite of the seats clearly being allocated in every bus, men are almost always seen sitting on ‘ladies’ seats’ and don’t always get up to give the seat to a fellow female passenger.
“I always have to ask the men to get up while travelling in the bus. The conductor never asks anyone to get up to let me or any other woman sit,” says Saranya K, working in Techno park, Thiruvananthapuram.
“Very few conductors help get seats for the female passengers,” says Shruthi, a student at Cochin University.
But some people have met a few courteous conductors too.
When asked, bus conductors tell that it is a part of their job to make sure that the women and elderly get the designated seats. “When we are inducted for the job, we are given some training about this particular issue and we are supposed to follow this rule on a daily basis,” says Jayasankar, who has been a conductor for four years. But clearly, this does not happen most of the time.
Passengers feel that the conductors should take an initiative, especially when it comes to elderly travelers. They should be more involved, at least for the old people in the bus. If rules have been made for the women and elderly, it is their duty to make sure everyone follows them.
In Kerala RTC Buses Ladies seats are allocated as given below.
Venad/Malabar Buses: First 4 rows behind driver.
Fast Passenger/Super Fast Buses: First 4 rows behind driver.
Super Express Buses: First row (3 seats) behind the driver.
Super Deluxe, AC, Volvo buses: No separate seats for women.
Also the first row behind the driver is only for women and the other three rows behind it is on the basis of “Sthreekalkku Munganana”, KSRTC does not mention the real meaning of that words.