Men want space in ladies special trains

Nov 09, 2011, 08:42 IST | Shashank Rao

Passengers allege that Mathrubhumi trains that run on the Thane-Panvel line are only 50 per cent occupied during peak hours; ask rail authorities to reserve the other half for men 

In a bid to appeal to the women suburban rail commuters in the city, the former Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced a Mathrubhumi Ladies Special train in her annual rail budget.

This decision, however, seems to have back-fired on railway authorities as male commuters feel that that trains run under capacity during peak hours.

All we want is some more room: Male commuters complain that the
Thane-Panvel stretch is an industrial hub and few women use it rendering
the special ladies trains unnecessary. File pic

Yesterday, tempers flared as nearly 150 male commuters stopped the Thane-Panvel ladies special train from leaving the platform at Thane railway station. The situation spiralled into pandemonium as they began throwing stones at RPF personnel who were called to diffuse the situation.

Male commuters argue that women passengers are few in number and hence provisions to accommodate male commuters must be made. They are inconvenienced as the next train that arrives is usually packed to capacity. Many passenger associations and individuals have written letters to railway authorities asking them to make provisions for male passengers too, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

Officials from Central Railways agree that the Thane-Panvel stretch doesn't see too many women commuters as it's an industrial hub, but say that demand for these ladies special trains is adequate on the main line and Harbour line. Also, they say a decision to amend these Mathrubhumi trains cannot be taken by them, as it's not in their purview. "The Railway Ministry had announced this special train. Even though there is a public demand for change, it will be difficult for us to take any action unless the Railway Minister initiates the requested changes," said a senior CR official. 

Two ladies special services run on each of the Central Railway network -- Main line, Harbour line and the Thane-Panvel line. One local runs daily in the morning and evening during peak hours on each line. "We have received letters asking to maintain a ratio for male and female commuters in the trains," said another CR official.

"Rail authorities should review new services to check if they meet the purpose. In this particular case, if it's not working then they should urge the Railway Ministry to allot some coaches to male commuters," said Subhash Gupta, former member, National Rail Users Consultative Committee.

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