Delhi Metro has become the second Metro system in the world to have reserved a special coach for women – the Dubai transport system taking the lead already.
The move was made on 2nd October, 2010 as a special gift to women on Gandhi Jayanti. All the Metro station platforms were painted in pink & white with “Women’s Only” written on the spot where the reserved coaches halt. The flowers drawn on the exterior of these coaches were eyeball grabbing on D-day.
It’s meant as a special luxury for all women passengers, who have to make their way in a choked Metro in what is called the ‘rape captial’ of India.
The first day of this affirmative reservation brought forth some really funny sights inside the coaches. The excitement was clearly visible on the faces of women. Their eyes were gleaming with joy and they were curious to enjoy the new experience. The office-going men and college going boys tried to enter the first coach, presumably not having heard
or seen the instructions - but they were being guided out to other coaches by men dressed in khaki, with loaded rifles in their hands.
There were many men who were blindly entering the first coach, overlooking the instructions or just ignoring them. Inside the metro also, there were frequent announcements for males to vacate the first coach. Then, the following day, there were some young volunteers dressed in orange coats who guided the gents and ladies regarding their entry in Metro.
I am sure this is just the start of the sigh of relief for the troubled women – they have got a privileged space right after the driver’s cabin. This new step has proved to be a boon, especialy for working women and students who have to use the Metro twice daily. They can now commute comfortably, without any apprehensions of eve-teasing and gauche stares from ill-mannered men. It’s a great respite from those guys who sit shamelessly on the seats reserved for ladies.
This is also going to be an icing on the cake for those ladies who have never tasted the joyride of Metro before. They have an added reason to use this public mode of transport now.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) took this step as their survey found that around fifty percent of the fairer sex felt ‘unsafe’ while travelling in metro. Women make for over one-fourth of Delhi Metro passengers. Obviously, it’s a prompt and apt decision taken by the authorities.
The corporation will also Rs 200 fine on men who will violate this rule. This may act as a damper on those who love to have it their way always.
Besides, this will also prevent overcrowding in other coaches and decongest the bogies, ensuring a smoother journey for all.
But this decision, not surprisingly, has wiped off the smile from some men’s faces. There were reports that many were fuming over this special ‘women only’ coach. Now, they may feel slighted by those women who will enter in other coaches as the rest of the three coaches are not male-only.
This measure may also cause some problems to couples and families.
But it should be whole-heartedly welcomed by both the sexes who should extend all the cooperation needed for its succesful execution. Only then, it can be mission successful for DMRC. The Mumbai local train has this system in place for years now and it is a big hit in the financial capital of India.
But, as they say, rules are meant to be broken. Let’s see how long this initiative lasts. And hopefully there won’t be any cat-fights on the new Venus that Metro has created!
(The views expressed by the author are personal)