One in every three women commuting by a local train in Mumbai is not aware of the railway helpline numbers,concluded a survey conducted by 19 students of St Xaviers College.
The survey on the opinion of women on public transport was conducted among 4,500 women commuters,between the age-group of 20 and 40 years. Second-year students of the BSc programme conducted the study under the guidance of Avkash Jadhav.
The commuters were asked if they knew which railway helpline number they should call in case of an emergency. Around 58 per cent said they were not aware of which helpline to call. Of the 58 per cent,around 32 per cent said that they did not even know that helplines existed.
We completed the survey in two months. There were two things that we came across during the survey that I found shocking- one a large number of the women commuters are still unaware about the helplines and the second around eight per cent said they would choose to ignore if they witnessed someone being sexually harassed in a bus or a train, said Deepanjali Francis,a student.
Railway officials,however,claimed that efforts are on to ensure that women commuters are aware of the helplines. Sharat Chandrayan,chief public relations officer,Western Railway,said,We have repeated announcements in the trains and at platforms,informing passengers about the existing helplines. Besides,we have also provided a helpline number,which is easy to remember.
Among the modes of transport,62 per cent women consider trains to be the safest.
While around 33 per cent said they did not feel safe to wait at a bus stop or at a railway station,44 per cent said they felt safe during the day but unsafe after 7 pm. Around 29 per cent said the citys public transport was not women-friendly.
Our survey was spread over all the three main routes of the city,central,western and harbour lines. Based on the analysis of the survey,it is evident that immediate actions need to be taken for the deteriorating situation of public transport facilities. A copy of this survey report will be submitted to the railway and BEST authorities, said Jadhav.