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Majority of women perceive public transport to be unsafe: Report

Women constitute 38 percent of bus users, 35 percent of metro/train users and 40-45 percent of auto-rickshaws, on-demand taxis and other shared mobility modes.

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As many as 91 percent of women surveyed for a report by cab aggregator Ola, perceive public transport to be very unsafe, somewhat unsafe or unsafe.

The report notes that safety is one among key parameters that women use to decide on a mode of public transport, with most women surveyed citing harassment like verbal abuse, staring, groping, cat calls, whistling, and molestation among others as the reason for such an opinion about public transport.

The report titled ‘What Do Women and Girls Want from Urban Mobility Systems’ surveyed 9,935 women across 11 cities to assess the current state of the mobility ecosystem. The cities covered were Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhuvaneshwar, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Jammu, Kochi, Mumbai, Mysuru and New Delhi.

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It notes that 59 percent of the surveyed women used public transport, with nearly 40 percent cited affordability as the reason for choosing public transport, with 26 percent stating convenience, and 15 percent saying they have no other option.

Women constitute 38 percent of bus users, 35 percent of metro/train users and 40-45 percent of auto-rickshaws, on-demand taxis and other shared mobility modes.

Women are willing to use public transport with 96 percent prioritizing affordability, coverage, frequency, safety and comfort. However, preferences for public transport change sharply with increase in incomes.

Public transport was the preferred mode of transport for half the women earning less than Rs 15,000 per month. It shifted to the least preferred mode (2 percent) for those earning more than Rs 1,00,000 per month.

Lower-income women prioritized better coverage, affordability and frequency of public transport whereas higher-income women prioritized comfort, coverage and affordability necessitating a nuanced approach to the provision of public transport services.

As many as 77 percent of women felt that last mile connectivity needed to be improved.

Nearly 74 percent of women stated that footpaths and 68 percent stated that cycle tracks are required in cities. Only 7 percent of women felt that seamless footpaths were available throughout their city. As many as 57 percent felt that their city did not have footpaths or were discontinuous and encroached and 35 percent perceived most or all their roads as dark.

There was an overwhelming demand for safer cycling networks with more than two-thirds of women, or 68 percent and three-fourths of men wanting cycle tracks in their cities, the report added.

The report notes that bicycles were owned by 30 percent of women as compared to 40 percent of men and one-third of the bike-owning women use it for commuting purposes, followed by leisure at 27 percent, with 27 percent saying they use it for both.

However, amongst women, 46 percent of students and 48 percent of unemployed women owned bicycles indicating the importance of a low or no-cost mode of transport for these groups. Women’s reasons for not cycling included insufficient cycling infrastructure at 32 percent of the responses, inconvenience at 27 percent, lack of safety at 20 percent and being both inconvenient and unsafe at 21 percent.

Other elements that require improvement include street lighting and patrolling in secluded areas in the night, wide, shaded, universally accessible footpaths and safer road crossings along with supporting amenities such as public toilets, seating and spaces for street vendors, the report said.

 

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First Published on Mar 8, 2019 02:44 pm
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