The first Metro train with a coach exclusively for women will not roll out before January 2018, notwithstanding the growing demand for dedicated compartments for females.
The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is awaiting completion of Phase 1 and arrival of 150 intermediate coaches from the Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) which won a Rs 1,421-crore contract in March. The arrival of coaches will not only help the BMRCL double the number of compartments to six but also increase the frequency of trains to three minutes during peak hour. When every train has coaches, it’ll be easier to reserve one of them for women, U A Vasanth Rao, General Manager (Finance) and official spokesperson for BMRCL, told DH.
The BMRCL, Rao said, is taking things slowly to avoid financial losses. It also wants to ensure passengers are evenly distributed in all coaches. “If an all women-coach is introduced and the footfall is not even 100, what is the point?” he asked.
Also Read: E.Sreedharan- Metro Man
The BMRCL hopes the number of travellers will increase multifold once the line from Sampige Road to Yelachenahalli is opened. The line, expected to open in May, will mark the completion of Phase 1.
Presently, around 1.45 lakh people travel every day between Baiyappanahalli and Mysuru Road, while this number is 45,000 from Sampige Road to Nagasandra. On average, 1.80 lakh to two lakh people travel by Metro every day. During IPL matches, the number goes up by 4,500.
Women travellers say the BMRCL should not delay reserving a coach for them in every train. “I often find myself sandwiched between men while travelling. It gets particularly embarrassing during evening peak hour. Metro is not only expensive but also worse than BMTC buses. Many a time, I skipped a train just to avoid rush and the embarrassment,” said Deepali C, a passenger.
Radhika K, another traveller, recounted that her worst experience was on Friday (April 14) after the IPL match. “The 8.30 pm train was already crowded because of peak hour. The rush increased manifold when a large crowd boarded the train at the Cubbon Park station. Men rubbed their backs against women and even leaned on them, citing shortage of space. They did not miss any opportunity to misbehave with us. Things got worse when we asked them to move. They asked us to get off the train if we were uncomfortable. There is no crowd management. The BMRCL must have a women-only coach for our safety,” she said.