Four days after the Noida-Greater Noida Aqua Line Metro was inaugurated, the lack of a women’s compartment has led to some commuters voicing concerns. According to a Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) official, the organisation has no immediate plan to introduce one.
All trains across the Delhi Metro have their first coaches reserved for women. The Aqua Line, however, has gone the way that Gurgaon’s Rapid Metro did, with no coaches reserved for women.
“There is no particular reason for not having a women’s coach. We have only four coach trains; 16 seats are reserved in each coach for women, elderly and the differently abled. These seats are marked separately in different colours,” said PD Upadhyay, executive director, NMRC.
Delhi Metro first introduced the women-only coach in all trains on October 2, 2010, on an experimental basis — eight years after the first train was flagged off in December 2002.
A largely positive response prompted the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to stick with the plan, which was introduced to ensure a safe and comfortable commute for women — who at the time formed a fourth of its ridership. The corporation fines men Rs 250 for travelling in the women’s compartment.
The newly inaugurated 29.7-km Aqua Line starts from Noida’s Sector 51 Metro station and ends at the Greater Noida Bus Depot station. The closest Blue Line station near Sector 51 is Noida City Centre, located a few kilometres away.
Aishwarya, an IT professional who works in a firm in Sector 137 and hopes to routinely take the Aqua Line, said a women’s only coach comes in handy, especially while travelling during odd hours. The Aqua Line runs from 6 am to 10 pm on weekdays and 8 am to 10 pm on weekends.
Geetika, an HR professional, said that while the footfall is low at the moment, once the line picks up, travelling in packed coaches wouldn’t be ideal.
Several commuters also aired concerns about there being no direct link between the Blue Line and the Aqua Line.