With doctors raising concerns about the health impact of inadequately ventilated railway compartments with closed doors on commuters, activists said reducing passenger density in trains could reduce the spread of infections.
Doctors said any overcrowded setting is a hotbed for the spread of infections and poor ventilation only boost the spread further.
However, doctors stated a mere possibility of spread of infection should be considered while designing public transport, given the resurgence of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis in the city.
The automated closing doors have been fitted on pilot basis, to see if they reduce the number of deaths on tracks. Around 900 of the 3,000 deaths caused by railway accidents in the city every year are caused by passengers falling off trains.
“Close doors will help reduce the deaths as a result of accidents, but they (railways) had not invited any feedback from the commuters while designing the present closed-door rakes. We have demanded for transparent doors and better ventilation in the compartments,” said Subhash Gupta, former member, National Railways Users consultative Council.
According to Ashok Datar, transport analyst, the idea should be reduce the overcrowding by strengthening other means of transport. “I strongly recommend the introduction of air-conditioned rakes, which will automatically solve the issue of ventilation,” said Datar.