With half a coach being reserved in Metro trains for women for the first time yesterday, guards at the platforms had a busy day keeping unsuspecting male intruders at bay.

Also read: Will Mumbai Metro have a separate ladies' coach?

While women commuters welcomed the idea of a reserved space for them, some said that merely separating men from their space with the help of flimsy strips didn’t make them feel all too safe
While women commuters welcomed the idea of a reserved space for them, some said that merely separating men from their space with the help of flimsy strips didn’t make them feel all too safe

The absence of proper boards indicating the ladies’ section led many men to enter it by mistake, forcing guards to show them the way out. The staff was also busy informing women passengers about the exclusive ‘half’ coach service, who welcomed the change with relief.

While the authorities had announced earlier this week that a section of the train would be set aside for female passengers, relief was tempered by the sobering realisation that only half of a coach had been reserved
for women. mid-day took a ride to see how passengers adjusted to this change, and noticed that while women commuters were extremely relieved and welcomed the decision, men appeared clueless and bewildered.

Male commuters who were caught travelling on the reserved half-coach claimed that inadequate signage had prevented them from knowing that the coach was partly reserved for women. Manish Mehta, a commuter, boarded the ladies’ coach with his wife out of sheer ignorance. By the time the guards approached him to assist him out, the doors had shut, forcing Mehta to continue his journey in the ladies section of the coach.

Mehta said, “I travel by Metro almost every day and don’t know of any such exclusive space reserved for women. We had to reach Ghatkopar on time and were in a hurry, so I walked into this coach. How would one know that it is reserved for women if there is no board mentioning the same?”

At Andheri station, a male commuter confidently walked into the ladies’ section, prompting all the passengers to break out in warning shouts, alerting him to step out of the coach. Thanks to the prompt response of the guard at the platform, he was evicted before the doors could shut. mid-day had reported on the slew of incidents last week, in which women were harassed while taking rides on the recently inaugurated Metro, prompting the need for a separate coach for them.