We Need Our City Governments To Do A Lot More When It Comes To Local Transport!
As Indian women, we are going through exciting times today. Perhaps we are among the first generations for whom ambition is not a bad word. Young girls right out of college venture out to work, to take a chance on pursuing their dreams. But, is everything in place for us to pursue our dreams? Not really, if you look at the state of our public transport!
A major obstacle women at work face is a lack of safe, reliable public transport. I usually travel by car to work or sometimes take a taxi, a luxury not many women can afford. An overcrowded bus is the norm; even an auto-rickshaw is an occasional comfort – after all, not everyone can afford it. An overburdened public transport is the only choice for the average Indian woman.
Hanging on to overhead rods in overcrowded buses and commuting in packed trains feeling like the stuffing in a sandwich does little to bolster one’s confidence. What’s more, many of the newer localities in cities where offices come up, aren’t accessible by public transport at all.
The total lack of safety while commuting and family responsibilities back home often prevent women from resuming their career after a break. After all, if getting back to and fro work takes up 4 hours a day and working late means walking the last mile on badly lit roads, many women just have to cut down on work.
Initiatives like the Delhi Metro and Mumbai Trains with the ‘women only’ compartments are a welcome move but we need so much more. Smaller cities and towns have woefully inadequate facilities for both transportation and safety. Missing the last bus or train is a horrifying experience and no woman should have to face this.
Some initiatives that we urgently need our local governments to take up are:
- Women only buses during peak hours.
- Express shuttles to specific areas for faster access to office zones.
- Ensuring reliable connectivity at all hours, as many offices are open 24/7.
- Regular, reliable connectivity in smaller towns and tier 3 cities.
- Not just safe but affordable travel options to suit all budgets.
- Police protection or guard in all public conveyances for added safety.
Our local governments need to come up with safe, affordable and comfortable means of transportation that would enable women to spread their wings securely. The large, rapidly growing cities across India need radical changes in their public transport and need it now!
Tell us your travel stories, and the changes you would like to see!
Written by Inderpreet Kaur Uppal