In May 2021, the Tamil Nadu government launched a scheme that made public city and town buses (with certain caveats) free for women. While the rides are completely free (with no restrictions on the number of trips per day or month), the scheme is applicable only on ‘white board’ buses. The white board buses are what are known as Ordinary Bus Routes and represent the most inexpensive category of service that halts at all bus stops on a given route.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that public transit in Chennai is fragmented, poor in service quality, and dying a slow death in the last two decades. Certainly the patronage numbers would support this with modal share dropping over the last few decades, concomitant with an increase in the modal share of private vehicles.
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