Kolkata’s transgender commuters will now have designated seats in some of the city’s public buses. The movement to reserve at least one bus seat for the third gender was officially launched on Sunday. The person behind the idea is 23-year-old Sobhan Mukherjee, who was nicknamed “Kolkata’s padman” two years ago for setting up sanitary napkin vending boxes in public toilets. He has also been instrumental in installing transgender toilets in the city. Demanding seats for transgender people in public transport is his latest project. Supporting Mukherjee in this endeavour is the Joint Council of Bus Syndicates (JCBS), the umbrella organization for 42,000-odd privately owned public buses in the city. The process to reserve the seats in 36 buses on 205 and 205A routes, which ply between Bansdroni in south Kolkata and Babughat in the central business district, started on Friday.
The seats are being called “Tridhara”. The seats have stickers and signs pasted over them, indicating that they are meant for transgender people.