In this episode of “Policy Beyond Mobility,” featuring Ms Sonal Shah, we delve into the critical aspect of gender-sensitive mobility, exploring how we can make transportation safer and more inclusive for women. Based on a decade of research and data, four key entry points to address this issue effectively have been identified.

1. Data for policymaking, programmes, and projects:

Data plays a fundamental role in understanding how women use transportation services. Notably, while the majority of women travel during non-peak hours, about 55% use shared para-transit during peak times. Surprisingly, many women report feeling more insecure inside the bus than at bus stops. This highlights the need for policies that enhance security both in transit and at transit facilities. Utilising data effectively can help in formulating targeted policies, programmes, and projects that address these specific concerns.

2. Standard Legislation and Guidelines:

Legislation and guidelines need to explicitly include gender sensitivity to ensure safe mobility for women. For instance, recent legislative changes, such as adjustments in the height requirements for bus conductors in Delhi, show a move towards more inclusive criteria. Furthermore, establishing clear standards for driver entry and behaviour can significantly impact the safety and comfort of female passengers.

3. Infrastructure and Operational Services:

Our findings suggest that the top concerns for women at bus stops include the lack of timely information on bus arrivals, buses not stopping as required, and overcrowding during peak hours. To mitigate these issues, improvements in physical infrastructure are necessary. This includes better-lit bus shelters and real-time information displays. Technologies like the ‘One Delhi’ app, which provides real-time bus arrival information, can greatly reduce the uncertainty and waiting times for women, thereby enhancing their safety.

4. Grievance Redressal Mechanism:

A staggering 95% of women have never filed a complaint regarding their safety on public transport, highlighting a significant gap in the grievance redressal mechanism. Over a three-month period in Delhi, 10% of the 170 filed complaints were from women, primarily concerning buses not stopping. This indicates a lack of awareness and trust in the existing complaint systems. Implementing a time-bound response system and increasing awareness about how to report issues can empower women to voice their concerns and improve overall safety.

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