With a view to reduce the hassles faced by women commuters, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has submitted a proposal demanding an increase in the number of ladies' compartments on trains. The proposal is yet to be considered and taken cognisance of by the railway administration.
There are currently three second class compartments and one first class compartment for ladies in 9-car, 12-car and 15-car trains. If approved, there will be four second class compartments and one first class compartment in all trains.
The RPF had, from October-December 2011, conducted a survey to find out what women commuters travelling daily on local trains need. Lack of security, hawker menace and rogue commuters were the issues raised by women.
Several women pointed out that in several trains, especially during the peak hours, fisherwomen board the second-class ladies compartment, despite a luggage compartment being allotted to them. "The fisherwomen sit near the door and occupy lot of space. Their baskets reek of fish, which becomes intolerable. If we try to confront them, they use foul language," said Smita Parekh, a resident of Borivli, who commutes daily on the Western Railway (WR).
The authorities said that the suggestions made by women commuters would be considered. "The suggestions will be looked into while addressing their problems. However, before bringing about any change, we would check if it is causing inconvenience to other commuters," said Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relation officer, WR.
Amongst other suggestions, the women commuters have also mentioned that during peak hours many women stand near the footboard blocking the way, making it difficult to board or alight. "In Virar-bound trains, it is an unsaid rule that you can only one side of the passage. This makes it difficult to board or alight the trains. An additional coach would solve the problem of overcrowding to a certain extent," said Ratna Deshmukh, a resident of Andheri and a regular traveller.
Chandrayan said that, based on the suggestions, changes can be made in 15-car trains.