Usually, 52-year-old Dharavi resident V Sundari Pillai takes the Sion (West) subway that connects Sion station to the 90-ft road as it is the shortest and most convenient route to the station. But if she has early morning shifts or is returning late from work, she has to cross the Sion bridge to get to the station.
During odd hours, the poorly-lit subway and drug-addicts lingering around it force her to take the longer route.
“This subway is unsafe even during the day time. Generally, I use the subway, but if there aren’t many people around, I have to cross the bridge,” said Pillai, a nurse by profession.
Besides, a poorly-lit staircase on the northend of the foot- overbridge (FOB), deserted skywalk, insufficient policing in the station, drunk men and drugaddicts lingering near the subway, uneven lighting on platforms make Sion station unsafe. As a result, women commuters take their own precautions, such as gripping their bags in front of them, and travelling only in groups.
“Around month back, I witnessed a middle-aged man stealing a wallet from a woman’s handbag. By the time we could raise an alarm, he had already escaped. So most of us carry our bags in front of us, especially during rush hours or if at ticket counters,” said 17-year-old student Komal Batt, a resident of Bhandup.
Even as railway records show that over 10,000 passengers originate from Sion station daily, few pedestrians take the skywalk to get to the station.
“It would take too long to approach the station via the skywalk.Besides, it is not even safe. We often see groups of drug-addicts sniffing in corners of the skywalk. It has no signboards to direct pedestrians and no police personnel. What would we do if there was an emergency?” said Chembur resident Neha Parmar, 18.