Safety seems to be the key word at the start of the year as the city is in the midst of two safety weeks. The Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) is holding its Road Safety Week while the Railways both Western and Central have a Rail Safety Week on.
It is tragically ironical then that while these initiatives are being held with all the discussion and debate about commuting safety in the city, accidents both on the tracks and on the road continue literally mocking these efforts.
Of late, a Central Railway mega block resulted in frustrated commuters hanging out of packed compartments resulting in three deaths. Today, two road accidents have taken place at Marine Drive in the vicinity where the Road Safety Week was recently inaugurated.
While Safety Weeks are held to reinforce safe commuting, it is evident that more needs to be done. Stricter speed monitoring and more speed cameras can improve efficacy. The crackdown on drunk driving may have loopholes but it has yielded results.
The Railways need better and clearer public address systems and fail proof indicators so that panic on platforms can be avoided. The media has repeatedly stressed that the gap between train and platform is huge, resulting in commuters slipping while boarding or alighting crowded trains. Then of course, is the perennial malaise of crossing tracks that needs to be addressed with greater urgency.
The onus of safety of course, lies on commuters too. Safety Weeks at best can bring about some awareness. The implementation has to be in all the weeks that follow these efforts; otherwise they remain cosmetic, lip service to the cause at best.