- Updated with a new ‘investigative’ feature from the Star Metro news team! (Scroll down to the bottom of the page)
TRANSIT noted this recent article which complains that male passengers are still using the ‘women-only’ coaches on the KTM Komuter trains.
TRANSIT now has to wonder – what is it that is happening here? With all the fanfare about introducing ‘women-only’ coaches (and their subsequent extension to ‘women-only’ buses on some RapidKL bus routes), is it really possible that people are unaware of these services? Or worse, are they aware and going ahead with their actions anyways, hoping that they would not get caught.
Or even worse – perhaps they feel unsafe or overcrowded in the other ‘mixed-gender’ carriages?
It may feel like a joke but TRANSIT is not amused. We are in fact disappointed to see the public transport policy is being written ‘on the fly’ and actions are clearly not in line with expectations (assuming those expectations are even clear to begin with).
Read the article after the jump.
Many still using women-only coaches (The Star)
23 January 2011
KUALA LUMPUR: The coaches clearly carry signs that they are for women only, yet many men get into them and race with women for the seats.
While some men claimed ignorance, others just did not care.
A KTM Komuter passenger who only wanted to be identified as Rafiq, seen inside one of the coaches on the Seremban route on Friday, was sheepish to be surrounded by women, some of whom were glaring at him.
“I am so embarrassed. I had no idea it was the ladies’ coach. It is my first time taking the KTM Komuter,” he explained.
Another male passenger, Oliver from Manila, said that he saw another man entering the commuter train and followed.
Regular public transport user Norazun Mat Yasop was not amused as there had been many occasions of men cramming into the women-only coaches.
“I have told men to leave when I see them but it still happens regularly. Sometimes they do it on purpose because those coaches are less crowded,” she said.
Norazun said that she had made two complaints to KTM but no action was taken.
Manpreet Kaur Randhawa, 20, who takes the train every morning to college, said the problem is due to lack of enforcement.
“Some stations do not have officers to enforce the rules,” she said
However, she admitted that sometimes men mistakenly entered the coaches because they did not see the sign.
She suggested that bigger signboards and banners be put up to create greater awareness among commuters.
KTMB commuter services senior manager Azreen Mohamed Yusup said that continuous efforts had been made to ensure that women-only coaches remained just that.
“We revised the logo to make it bigger and more universal and we are constantly enhancing our services. We also hired an additional 50 officers this month to enforce the rule and to monitor security at KTM premises.
“But at the end of the day, it is the civic-mindedness of men that is important,” she said.
Azreen added that KTM might impose fines if the current measures remained ineffective.
Ok, so there is the article. Now, the comments from Azreen Mohd. Yusop are interesting. According to her, KTMB has hired more security officers and increased the size of their signs and made them more visible.
The next step may be to introduce fines.
We have to ask, is that a wise idea? We already can see that passengers are being alienated by the women-only coaches – unhappy because KTM Komuter service is infrequent and unpredictable.
The suggestion of introducing fines is not only adding insult to injury, one has to wonder if it is even legal under existing Malaysian law or bylaws/local laws specific to KTMB.
TRANSIT thinks that the problem is more towards KTMB service and the communication of information. It is not appropriate for KTM to introduce women-only carriages and threaten to fine male passengers if KTMB cannot maintain a level of service commensurate with the expectations of all passengers.
In other words, if KTMB can guarantee a train every 5-7 minutes, most male passengers would not even think of entering a ‘women-only coach’ (even if they were young boys or senior citizens accompanying a lady passenger).
But if KTMB cannot offer that basic level of service at a level that is reasonably equitable, what right do they have to threaten to fine male passengers? Instead, they should be offering male passengers refunds or incentives if they have to wait for a second (or third) trains.
This letter below basically sums up what (we think) most people would say about the coaches, given the choice:
Just increase train frequency (The Star)
I REFER to “Men not getting the message” (The Star, Jan 23).
I was boarding at the KTM station in Serdang recently.
As usual the train was packed, and my wallet was pick-pocketed during the rush into the train.
My point is if the train is more frequent, there won’t be a need to have women-only coaches as the packed situation would not be happening or be reduced. Pick-pockets are just one of the problems.
I wish KTM can provide a more safe and comfortable journey for all passengers, women and men, young and old and the disabled.
And here is the ‘investigative’ feature that makes up our update:
Women-only coaches attracting men (The Star)
26 January 2011
By YIP YOKE TENG
Photos by LOW LAY PHON
KTM Berhad introduced women-only coaches on April last year for the safety and comfort of the fairer sex. However, a check by StarMetro on a weekday morning revealed that some men are still unaware of it or choose to ignore the ruling.
ARE they in the dark or are they doing it deliberately? Men are still seen making their way into the women-only coaches on the KTM trains.
It is puzzling that despite the many pink signages stating “Ladies only at all times” placed at prominent places on the KTM station’s platforms and inside the coaches, some men just do not see them.
As always, we want to have your feedback on these issues. Please comment in the space below, and thank you!