A fortnight ago, the Central Railway (CR) made an addition to the staircases of foot overbridges (FOBs) at its stations, sticking posters below each step that ask commuters to watch their step and hold handrails.
The railways’ newest commuter awareness campaign comes a month-and-a-half after 23 people died in a stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station on September 29.
Colourful stickers printed in Marathi and Hindi appeal to commuters to use staircases safely, take one step at a time, hold the handrails while alighting and keep the premises clean.
Sunil Udasi, chief public relations officer, CR, said this was one of several general awareness campaigns that the railways undertakes from time to time. “The stairs are the best place to put up the stickers because they are catchy and hit the eye easily. We have started it at a few critical stations and will introduce the campaign at others,” he said.
So far, the stickers have been put up at Currey Road and Parel stations. The railways said the priority was to target stations with heavy footfalls.
Importantly, the stickers ask commuters not to turn railway stations into meeting points, not to spread or believe in rumours, not to panic at the sight of crowded bridges and to wear “anti-slip” footwear. Police investigation into the stampede found that rumours of a collapsed bridge had led to a rush of commuters heading desperately downstairs, crushing those standing below to escape the rain.
A senior CR official said that awareness campaigns were ramped up after the September tragedy. “We felt that the campaigns need to become more vigorous to avoid a repeat of the stampede,” said the official.
The Western Railway had first introduced stickers in three languages at major stations on its line last year. WR spokesperson Ravindra Bhakar said it was meant to instill civic sense into commuters.