The Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday asked the railways to consider providing senior citizens a dedicated coach on suburban trains, at least on a trial basis.
The court’s directions came while hearing a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL). In January this year, the HC had asked the Central and Western railways to ensure 14 seats are reserved for senior citizens in all suburban trains.
In its compliance report submitted before the HC, the railways said the seats have been reserved and indications have been put up on doors and inside coaches to highlight it.
The court, however, noted that reservation of seats will not solve the problem, and senior citizens can be assured of easy accessibility to local trains only if there is a dedicate compartment for them.
“During the rush hour, it is difficult for people to get inside the trains. If senior citizens cannot enter the trains, what is the use of reserving seats for them? You should consider having one compartment dedicated for them and operate it on a trial run,” said justices Naresh Patil and VL Achliya. “If there is a dedicated compartment in trains operating at particular timings, senior citizens will rather wait for that train than get onto a crowded one,” the court said.
According to the compliance report, around 38,000 senior citizens use the local trains every day.