‘Women clueless about helplines’

A survey conducted by students of St Xaviers College, Fort, has revealed that a large number of female commuters do not know who to contact in case of an emergency. It covered over 4,500 commuters of BEST bus and local trains.
Prof Avkash Jadhav, professor-in-charge of the survey said, “It was conducted during July and August and students spoke with respondents ranging from all ages. Students between the ages of 10 and 24 years constituted a major portion of the female commuters surveyed, followed by working women between the age group of 21-40. The number of commuters above the age of 41 years was very low,” said the professor, who is also a nominated corporator of the Shiv Sena in the BMC.
The survey shows that almost 62 per cent of women preferred to travel by train and out of them, 58 per cent were not aware of any helpline number. Thirty-two per cent claimed that they heard about it for the first time from the survey itself. When asked if they wanted vendors to be allowed on the trains, 62 per cent said male vendors (small boys) should not be allowed at all while 23 per cent felt that they should be allowed but only during non-peak hours.
Eighty-nine per cent respondents also said that women-only train and bus services should be increased.
Interestingly, 37 per cent respondents said they had never faced sexual harassment in public transport while 28 per cent said that they did. At the same time, 18 per cent said they faced harassment regularly.
Prof Jadhav said that the survey’s findings would be placed before railway and BEST authorities.

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