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    Nari Shakti: Understanding the Impact of Free Bus Rides

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    The Mahalakshmi Scheme, which offers free bus services for women, has led to more women taking the bus. Experts say that this scheme promotes social equality by making public transportation more accessible to women, which can empower them by giving them easier access to education, jobs, and other opportunities.

    Since the introduction of the scheme, there has been a significant increase in visitors to temples. The Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple in Yadadri and Sree Seetha Ramachandra Swamy Vari Devasthanam in Bhadrachalam have seen a rise in footfall. Additionally, with Sankranti approaching, some TSRTC bus depots have reached 140 percent occupancy.

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    Women passengers have shared their positive experiences with the scheme. Laxmi, a vegetable vendor, said that she saves Rs 150 every day by using the free bus service to go to the market. Sravanthi, a homemaker, mentioned that she hadn’t traveled on a TSRTC bus in ten years and would not have visited tourist and religious places if it weren’t for the scheme.

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    Some women passengers have suggested that the frequency of buses should be increased to accommodate the higher demand. Anusha, a regular traveler, mentioned that buses are often overcrowded during peak hours, leading to some passengers having to stand or wait for another bus. Increasing the number of buses on each route would help address this issue.

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    Dr. Krishna Reddy Chittedi, an Assistant Professor at the University of Hyderabad, stated that the scheme empowers women and improves the public transportation system. He suggested implementing a minimal charge for women, similar to the fee for farmers’ electricity, to ensure the financial sustainability of the scheme.

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    TS Reddy, an urban mobility and traffic planning expert, praised the Mahalakshmi Scheme but highlighted the need for improvements in frequency and network coverage. He emphasized the importance of balancing social objectives with financial viability for the scheme’s success.

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