mid-day editorial: The ticket to safer train rides is in our hands

Oct 02, 2017, 06:08 IST | mid-day correspondent

The weekend after the stampede, the rush of commuters was back at the foot overbridge between the Parel and Elphinstone Road stations, but Friday's memories remain extremely painful, even in a city famed for its short memory and resilience

The weekend after the stampede, the rush of commuters was back at the foot overbridge between the Parel and Elphinstone Road stations, but Friday's memories remain extremely painful, even in a city famed for its short memory and resilience.

While broadening bridges and upgrading infrastructure is necessary in the long term, there are immediate measures that need to be taken up, such as improving announcement systems across all stations. The announcers need to immediately reassure commuters over the Public Address system in case of a panic situation. Their address may go unheeded, but it is important to try.

Put up posters announcing strict fines and legal action against rumour-mongers at stations. Warn crowds about the dangers of pushing in crowds - this applies to commuters on the train as well. These measures may seem lame compared to the surging crowds, but we need to do this, even if it is just to make a dent in the public consciousness.

Panic and hysteria are common at our stations - when platforms are changed suddenly, when a commuter falls down the staircase, or when a loud noise is interpreted as everything from a bomb blast to crumbling infrastructure.
Given our numbers, crowd control borders on impossible. That is the time when the address system needs to be switched on for reassurance in clear, concise tones.

People need to understand that one cannot have a selfie or shoot a video in such a tragedy. It was shocking to see commuters taking videos while people were dying - it was heinous and insensitive. Mumbaikars must also use their good sense to dismiss politicians trying to use a tragedy to earn points. Do what is in your power, mobilise opinion for better facilities and become a responsible commuter yourself.

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