Public transport is the life line of any city. Women tend to choose public transport to travel to the workplace, college, school, markets and carry out a whole range of activities across the city. Unfortunately, it is actually unsafe public transport that has been reported to be the most deterrent for women to access public spaces.
In Delhi, the studies conducted by Jagori between (2005-10) have revealed that the entire public transport system, including government and private buses, Delhi Metro Rail, auto-rickshaws, local trains, Gramin seva, Rapid Transport vehicle are extremely unsafe for women. While commuting or waiting been victim of sexual harassment and violence. Over half of the women respondents in the last survey (concluded in 2009) reported public transport as being the most unsafe place for women. Over 40% said that waiting for public transport was equally risky. Similar responses were also obtained from men and common witnesses. Around 51.4% women reported that they faced harassment using public transport while 49% men and 41% common witnesses reported that they have witnessed women being harassed.
In general, improving public transport from a viewpoint of safety, especially women’s safety, requires a long term vision and sustained efforts, which combine sensitization, capacity-building, as well as punitive measures.
Jagori collaborated with Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) since 2007 initiating safe travel for women in the DTC buses.
As part of the on-going initiatives undertaken helpline numbers were put on display in buses and around bus stops, helpline booklet has been distributed through many ticket counters and a helpline service for distressed women launched. A series of sensitization trainings with over 3600 DTC drivers/conductors to create awareness about gender safety was conducted in 2007. Trainings by Jagori on issues of masculinity and gender were essential to raise awareness on the issue and also enhance proactiveness amongst the DTC staff to intervene and assist the women in need.
Between 2010 -11, 50 DTC Instructors have also undergone rigorous training on gender and safety, conducted by Jagori in partnership with Centre for social Justice and Health and AAKAR. The training was instrumental to create a group of core gender and safety trainers in the DTC institution, to further awareness on the issue through regular refresher course training undertaken by them. DTC today also has a special chapter on women safety awareness, information on law and tips for drivers and instructors within their training manual.