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Is women safe in public transport?

"The day a woman can walk freely on the roads at nights, that day we can say that India has achieved independence" -Mahatma Gandhi

India has celebrated 75 years of independence, but the true independence which Gandhi envisioned is yet to come.

Let's hold that thought for a moment, and take the case of women while traveling in public transport. As we most know that women are more dependent on public transport than men.

But are they safe? Can they travel in public transport without worrying about their safety?

What are problems they face in public transport?


One of the most exasperating issues is the sexual harassment faced by women in public transport. 88% of women reported that they have faced harassment at least once while commuting through public transports.


When we were addressing this topic in class, our teacher mentioned that she used to keep a safety pin and that when a harasser bothers her, she pinpricks them. Pretty cool idea right?


Now people urge women to carry pepper spray and exercise self-defense. The only difference in the situation is that the pin has been replaced with pepper spray. These weapons of defense could be avoided if the people started to behave properly.


The "Nirbhaya Case" is all that is required to understand the plight of Indian public transportation. On a frigid December night in 2012, in India's capital, Delhi, we saw the horrific rape of "Nirbhaya" on a moving bus by men including the conductor and driver. This incident has shocked the hearts of Indians and many women feared using public transport at night.


After this incident, Verma Committee was formed in 2012 to give a report, study, and improve women's safety in public transportation, and a fund of 2000 crores INR was allowed, How much of the work was implemented remains a question.

What can be done to ensure women saftey?

  • Background verification: The workers in the public transport should be thoroughly verified and a background check should be run on them before employing them and routinely checked.

  • Surveillance: CCTV should be installed and most importantly maintained properly. A panic button could be installed which can send live footage of the bus to the control room.

  • Live tracking: The buses must be GPS enabled. There should be a provision for the public to live track the bus through an app. If the bus deviates from the arranged routes it should be alerted to the control room.

  • Full-fledged bus stations: The waiting sheds should be also well lit with amenities for emergencies.


Closing thoughts

We can develop many innovations and amenities for women's well-being on public transportation, but the shift should be societal. In the long run, educating people is the most effective solution. Educate people on how to behave properly is the best solution instead of asking women to take precautions and take the burden of their safety upon their shoulders. Let's take a vow to make public transport safe for all people.



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