BENGALURU: About a month ago, Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) announced that the first two entrances on the train will be reserved for women passengers, on a pilot basis. City Express asked women passengers if this has been helpful and has improved their travel experience.
Close to 70 per cent of the 100 respondents CE surveyed said that this was indeed useful. Only the entrances have been reserved for women, but this has in-effect ‘reserved’ the two coaches for women.
Women passengers said that they do not even mind standing inside the ‘reserved’ compartment for their journey as it is comfortable and they need not worry of being ‘accidentally’ groped.
A passenger, who did not want to be named, said, “It becomes safer to travel, especially at night. Also when crowded, these two compartments are the safest to avoid getting groped and pinched.” Another passenger added, “In rush hour, it’s good to have such compartments where one can stand comfortably.”
“You need not have any worry of otherwise being looked at or inappropriately being ‘accidentally’ touched during rush hour or when a train is full. It keeps creepy men in check, especially at night,” said a passenger.
Some do not see any difference
While most say they feel safer while returning after work late evening, there are others who are not aware that these two entrances have been reserved for women. Vasanth Rao, PRO, BMRCL, said, “Everybody knows about it. We have put markers in every station and we have ensured that the security personnel are there to see that it is implemented.”
Some do not take the compartment as they are accompanied by male friends or just find it inconvenient to walk up to the first compartment to board the train, as they are in a hurry. About 30 per cent women said having a separate entry hasn’t really improved their travel experience. A media professional Chinnu Vinod said it doesn’t make much of a difference as there is no separate coach. “Men can easily enter the area reserved for women and assault them. There should be a separate compartment like the ones Metro in Delhi has. That would be more useful,” she said.
A passenger Rahul Singh who travels by Metro regularly suggested that passengers should be clearly told which are the reserved compartments. “Only the front two doors are reserved for the entry of women but not the seats. But a few women have misunderstood this and make male passengers leave the seats if they have occupied them. This is not right. This has to be communicated properly to everyone,” he said.
Rao said, “When the first two entries are only for the women, automatically only women occupy those seats. Question of men occupying those seats doesn’t really occur because women will have already occupied them. Also, as we haven’t exclusively stated it, we do imply that preference is given to women passengers.” He added, “Once we start six-coach trains from May, we can allot a complete compartment to women.”