To ensure safety of women commuters and to make optimum use of space available in trains, the railways are now considering converting two of the three women’s coaches into general compartments between 11pm and 6am.
This means women will not be travelling alone during off-peak hours and men will also get more space to travel, said officials.
The railways have also requested women and differently-abled commuters not to travel alone in empty compartments. For this, they are ready to increase the stop time at stations from 15 to 20 seconds.
“It is not possible to deploy constables in all compartments. Therefore, we are requesting women and differently-abled commuters to always travel in the general compartment during off-peak hours,” said Sunil Kumar Sood, general manager, Central Railway (CR).
A railway official said they were thinking of converting the fourth and seventh ladies coaches to the general compartment. The first one will, however, remain unchanged, he said.
However, railway activists are up in arms against the suggestion, claiming that it will result in chaos. “Many women commuters travel late in the night, so the compartments should not be converted. Instead, the railways should increase police presence,” said Lata Argade, a railway activist.