The Shakti Yogani or free bus scheme launched by the Government of Karnataka saw a huge rise in the number of women taking buses on Monday, registering an increase to 41 lakh. The data was released by the Transportation Department between the 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. schedule.

The project was launched on Sunday, with more than 5.7 lakh women benefiting from the free travel scheme from 1pm to 12am. All four carriers incurred a cost of Rs 1.4 crore. However, on Monday the figure rose to more than 41 lakh, costing carriers Rs 8.8 crore a day. KSRTC incurred the highest cost which was reported at Rs. 3.5 crore.

The data released by the Department of Transport also showed that more than 17 female passengers traveled on the BMTC on Monday with the passenger ticket value being recorded at Rs 1.7 crore. More than 8.3 lakh passengers took NWKRTC and incurred a cost of Rs 2.1 crore and more than 4 lakh passengers took KKRTC, incurring a cost of Rs 1.3 crore.

Under this scheme, women traveling in the bus will be reimbursed by the Karnataka government. As part of the scheme, the Department of Transport is now issuing ‘zero value tickets’ to women passengers on presentation of government identification (Aadhar card). The Department of Transport also clarified that a zero-value ticket will be issued to women upon presenting a copy of their Aadhar card.

The government has also stated that Shakti smart cards will be issued within three months after applications for the scheme are received and reviewed through the Seva Sindu portal. Until smart cards are issued, the government will distribute zero-value tickets

Shakti Yogan It was one of the Five Guarantees declared by the ruling Congress. According to the government, the free bus scheme is expected to cover 50% of the population in Karnataka and 94% of the government bus services. This scheme does not apply to air-conditioners and luxury buses and is restricted to travel within Karnataka only. Bus classes such as sleeper, Vajra, Vayuvajra, Airavat, Airavat Club Class, Airavat Gold Class, Ambari, Ambari Utsav, Rajahamsa and EV Power Plus will not fall under the free bus service scheme for women.

According to a report submitted by the Department of Transport to the state government, the regional air carriers have to spend more than Rs 4,220 crore annually to implement the scheme. The four regional training centers are to introduce 4,028 new buses and recruit 13,793 crew to implement the scheme.


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