If you are a Mumbaikar, then it is for sure that you might have had at least one terrible experience with the Mumbai local trains. People board the locals in no particular order and force their way in pushing and crashing into everyone.Squeezing yourself inside the train you start mentally cursing the management and the people around.
To overrule such unruly behavior the Railway Protection Force (RPF)-Western Railway had chalked out a plan to ask women commuters to queue up to board trains at some of the suburban stations.
On December 18 the plan turned out to be a huge success as the RPF selected five Virar bound locals starting from Andheri (5.47 pm, 6.12 pm, 6.35 pm, 6.50 pm, and 7.21 pm), and deployed 20 women constables who approached commuters on platform numbers 8 and 9 and asked them to queue up before boarding the train.
Initially, the women thought it was a security drill but when told about the plan there was not even a murmur of protest.
As reported by the Mumbai mirror “Commuters were more than happy to support the drive,” RPF-Western Railway’s Divisional Security Commissioner Anup Kumar Shukla said. “They readily queued up, and while a few did lunge forward as the train approached the platform, the discipline was by and large maintained,” Shukla said.
All women commuters not only lined up in queues to get into their trains but also inspired the men to follow a queue system.The RPF believe that the idea will work and unruly behavior at station platform can be corrected if simple procedures are followed.
Inspector (RPF) Sanjay Chaudhary, who was part of the monitoring team at Andheri station during the experiment said it would take time for it to become a habit. “People jump into the compartments to ensure they get a seat or are able to find a spot to stand below a fan or near the door. Our aim is to change this habit and inculcate in commuters the need to travel safe,” he said.
Commuters, however, reiterated that such habits can be formed only when the railway does its bit. Advocate Uma Pillai, who had queued up at Andheri station yesterday, said, “Commuters, especially during the rush hour, will only think of how to board the train. Railways will have to mark the platforms where queues have to be formed, and of course improve punctuality and increase train frequency,” she said.
The step by RPF and commuters certainly need to be welcomed as this will reduce the inconvenience and even unruly mobs to a large extent. While it is sad to see that unlike most of the part of the worlds people are taking this step only when asked by someone, it might be beginning of a change for good!