The safety of women on public transport seems to be a continuous topic of discussion in the City.
Post the Delhi gang-rape case, people and the authorities all across the country woke up to the need to ensure security of the fairer sex on different modes of public transport. The BMTC has implemented a few measures as well, although most of them seem to have gone unnoticed.
Anjum Parvez, managing director of BMTC, details, “We tried out a few buses for women in the City but the initiative wasn’t successful. Our newest plan includes implementing the reservations of seats for women in buses. To make sure this happens, there will be 60 teams from the BMTC — each headed by a lady officer — keeping a close check on the occupancy of ladies’ seats. If a man is found sitting on this seat, he will be fined Rs 100. Those seats have always been there but now, we will lay emphasis on implementation and awareness.”
Talking about other initiatives the BMTC plans to introduce, Anjum elaborates, “We will be rolling out CCTV cameras in 500 buses and then introduce them in more. Also, we’re thinking of re-implementing the buses for women, which will ply during peak hours.”
Most commuters in the City are welcoming these plans. Nidhi, the founder of an online educational platform, says, “If the BMTC actually executes these plans, it would be great. Adding alarms to the buses — so that in case of an emergency one can alert the driver that an incident has happened — will also help. It would help if there were lady constables travelling on the buses that ply on the outskirts.”
Sachin Sethi, a service sales manager, agrees that these initiatives could help — if implemented properly. “It makes sense to introduce buses for women but the initiative needs to be handled carefully. There are many routes on which this could be implemented,” he says. He also feels that it’s necessary to ensure that men and women use separate doors on the bus — the one in front being for women and the one in the middle being for men. “Implementing the physical separation (which is removable in cases of emergencies) between the two halves of the bus, would also help in keeping adverse incidents at bay,” he adds.
But not all commuters are convinced of these initiatives. Kavita Pareek, who runs a daycare centre, says, “Women don’t just travel during peak hours. The most practical solution would be to have buses for women — with lady conductors and drivers — that ply on different routes at all times. Equipping the buses with cameras is not going to do much, since they will not be able to cover all the corners of the vehicle.”
Anjum, on the other hand, feels that plying the ladies’ buses during peak hours is enough. He asserts, “At other times, there are enough vacant seats since there aren’t many passengers on the buses. We want to make sure that women travel comfortably and safely — especially during peaks hour — without any untoward incidents.”