As per a report, women tend to travel more often than men. Due to lack of women in urban planning, the public transport ought to be designed by men and for men without women’s perspective. Results? At least 64% of women in the Mexico City are groped or physically harassed during public transport. Same is the case in New York. This only limits women from exploring educational and employment opportunities to the fullest.
Here’s how the states can learn from each other to make travel easy and safer for women:
Catfights in Mumbai locals can be BAD! More female constables, please
A 26-year-old female was bitten by 3 daily train commuters when they came to know that she was not a daily commuter. Like seriously…? Although the other women pulled the chain to alert the GRP but no response. So the train resumed, so did the assault. It was only when they reached Bhayandar, did a women activist (who was too in the train) called the helpline. The 3 ladies were then arrested by the police authorities.
Peak traveling hours, crowded trains and really aggressive commuters are the ingredients which make fights in Mumbai locals a daily normal. It starts with one push which leads to a verbal fight. However, this soon turns into a violent and a physical one including slapping, biting and pulling each other’s hair. It’s not that funny as it sounds. It’s a real issue which needs to be addressed in order to maintain the safety of the passengers. Sure, there are cops during the later hours of the day and there are helplines, but that’s simply not enough. A woman constable is the need of hour during peak hours of travel to sort of stop the fights and civilize the passengers. Was there a female police present during the above incident, it would have not got so worst.
Delhi bus travel isn’t safe! Women only buses is the solution
Lack of proper connectivity and poor frequency of buses are the factors which contribute to crowded buses. Making it extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient for female travelers who are often prone to unwanted pushes and touches by strangers. As per a survey by an NGO called Jagori, 80% of 500 female travelers surveyed, faced sexual harassment in public transport, particularly buses. “My friends who take the bus tell me that buses are usually not safe — they molest you, they grab you. Because the buses are always crowded, there are always chances,” says a 20-year-old Smriti Sharma from Delhi. Need of the hour? Experts suggest women-only buses. While there are a few seats reserved for women in buses, but is that enough? So, here’s what Delhi can learn from Meerut, UP. In 2015, the city introduced women-only buses between Noida and Meerut called the Pink Express. These buses have women-only staff (except the driver), are equipped with vehicle tracking system and panic buttons, wifi etc.
Like Meerut, many other cities like Navi Mumbai, Pune and J&K have planned to launch these services.
Bengaluru and Gurgaon suck at ‘last-mile connectivity’! Out of the box ideas needed
Last mile connectivity refers to commuting from transportation hubs like train stations and bus-stops to the final destination like a workplace, college or home. While urban planners are busy constructing lavish metros and stations, this aspect is something that is often missed out. Lack of last mile connectivity has emerged as the major security threat in Gurgaon. In an interview with HT, a daily Metro commuter says that although Metro makes traveling easy, it is the journey from Metro to her residence which is an issue. Since there is virtually no other modes of transport post 10, except auto-rickshaws, they are forced to take autos. There have been incidents of auto drivers misbehaving and abusing the female passenger of they refused to board their vehicle. As per a survey done by School of Planning and Architecture (SPA),D Delhi, 50% of those who travelled by train would use the metro if there was an efficient way to get to the metro. While we are yet looking for a perfect solution to this issue, startups are coming up with out of box ideas for ensuring better connectivity. For instance, a startup proposed setting up a cycling rental company to cycle to and from stations.
Read the other ideas here.