When men sit and women stand...

WOEFUL JOURNEY

When men sit and women stand...

Although a few seats are reserved for the ladies in the BMTC buses, they aren’t of much help as most of them are occupied by men. While authorities claim that they have been keeping a watch over the situation and conducting special drives to fine perpetrators, women commuters still feel a lot needs to be done in this regard.

Everyday, 32 teams of officials are sent to check whether the passengers have bought a ticket. The reserved seats are also supervised at the same time, says Shyamala SM, assistant traffic manager (public complaints) of BMTC. “There are special drives held once or twice a month. Forty teams, consisting of three members each, are deputed just to check if the reserved seats are designated according to the provision. The 11 sarathi teams also help,” she claims.

Many like Pooja Shroff, a resident of Jayanagar who runs a salon, say that they have never seen the rule being followed. “Many of my staff members share stories about being harassed on the bus. Each time, there is a new incident,” complains Pooja. She suggests that the best thing would be to have separate buses for women. “Else, the conductors should not allow male passengers to sit on the reserved seats at all,” narrates Pooja.

According to most female passengers, if there is a provision to avert danger, why not put it to practice? Kavya HK, a third semester MBA student, says that in Tamil Nadu, the men don’t sit on the reserved seats even if they are empty. “There should be strict rules. Despite being careful, untoward incidents can happen. There are people who take photographs on their cell phones and misbehave by groping women,” voices Kavya.

She adds that despite the rule, some men shamelessly argue. “The BMTC staff should be sensitised to the problems faced by women commuters. Sometimes, even the driver and conductor support the men if an argument breaks out,” adds Kavya.

There are some who feel that the situation is better here when compared to the others parts of the country. “Coming from Delhi, I have observed that the men here rarely occupy the specified seats. It’s really impractical to expect the conductor to take care of everything,” says Swati, a college teacher. She adds that the bus authorities should be vigilant.

Greeshma P, a lady conductor, says that most men don’t occupy the ladies’ seat unless they are drunk or elderly. “It’s a tough job to keep things smooth, especially during peak hours. Manners like respect to women should come naturally to one. But the conductor and driver do make it a point to keep the ladies’ seat reserved for them only,” she says.

 Anjum Parwez, managing director, BMTC, also vouches that there is a stricter watch over the reserved seats. “We have booked 3,900 cases from January 2013 to November 2013 and a fine of Rs 3,90,000 was collected,” he reveals. The BMTC has made it a point to protect women and help them travel safely, he wraps up.

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