BENGALURU: With Metro trains in Bengaluru almost set to return to the operational timings that existed before the pandemic, there is a possibility that the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) reinstate the woman guard provided in the Ladies Coach of every train running beyond 10 pm. The move, launched in December 2019, to provide enhanced security to women commuting late at night, was withdrawn from trains operated after the pandemic.
There could have been a justification since trains have so far been run only upto 10 pm after Metro first resumed operations on September 7, 2020, after the first covid wave. BMRCL has just announced that trains will run from 6 am to 11.30 pm from November 18.
BMRCL Managing Director Anjum Parwez told TNIE, “We will consider bringing them back. Now that train timings are extended beyond 10 pm and the last train could even reach near midnight at a few stations, we will have a rethink on it.”
Executive Director, Operations and Maintenance, A S Shankar told TNIE, “The ridership is not high presently to warrant such a move. Moreover, we have not received any complaints from women so far about it.” He also said that security staffers are now provided at the platforms of every stations, which was not the case earlier.
Masks penalty crosses Rs 76 lakh
The penalty amount collected by BMRCL from commuters for not wearing masks in the right manner inside Metro trains and stations now stands at Rs 76,21,660, the Executive Director said. Cases are booked daily against commuters with Rs 250 charged for every violation.
Meanwhile, Bangalore Metro finally crossed the 3 lakh figure of ridership for a single day after it restarted operations post-COVID. It recorded its highest ridership post-pandemic - 3,15,554 - on Monday (November 15).
When the move to post a woman guard was launched two years ago on December 3, it won much praise for BMRCL. The majority of women commuters spoken to at random by TNIE now wanted it reinstated.
S. Monisha, pursuing an internship in Chartered Accountancy, “It will be good if guards are brought back. Of course, there are CCTV cameras inside the trains. But, physical presence of guards will help in case of any emergency.”
R Shakuntala, a postal employee, too concurred. “Yes, that would be a good move. It will give a sense of security to women travelling late in the night.” There were some like Sherin Wilson, working in a private bank, who differed.
“I do not think it is necessary. We already have a separate coach for women which is itself a safety step. Stations also arrive within 2 minutes of each other when you are on a train. There are cops at all stations whom we can spot from trains. So, in case of any emergency, help can be obtained within minutes.”