The much-awaited suburban train with automatic doors, which made its first trip on a weekday on Tuesday, seems to have impressed the Western Railway (WR) commuters. Some of them, however, remained apprehensive of how the system will work during peak hours.
The train, with automatic doors in the first class women’s compartment, made eight trips between Churchgate and Borivli, with the first trip starting at 12.16pm. “It is a good idea. The move will reduce the number of railway accidents. But we are concerned about the ventilation during the monsoon,” said Geeta Ramana, 49, a Churchgate resident.
Women commuters said the railways should put up a light or a siren to indicate the closing and opening of the door inside and outside the compartment. “During rush hours, the commuters get really impatient. Such an indicator is a must,” said Rutuja Kedare, 17, Matunga resident.
Women passengers also want their two first-class compartments to be merged. Currently, the compartment is divided into two, of which one remains a women’s compartment 24x7, while in the other men are allowed after 11pm. “Merging will give more space to women commuters and ensure the compartment isn’t vacant at any time. It is okay if it gets converted into a general compartment during non-peak hours,” said Kusum Rai, 49, a Santacruz resident.
Concerned about safety, some passengers also demanded emergency buttons in the compartments. “The closed-door will be a concern during non-peak hours, as women passengers will not be able to seek any help in case of emergency. The existing emergency exit can be used to open the door, but is difficult for shorter women to access,” said Priyamvada Sawant, 40, Santacruz resident.