मुंबई Mumbai: Western Railway is working with the developer of a smartphone app to integrate into it a feature that women commuters travelling alone could use to call for security.
The app, m-Indicator, is popular among rail and BEST commuters and has a user base of 60 lakh in Mumbai. WR wants its developer to add to it an emergency button that, when tapped, will send an alert to the RPF control room, which could then rush assistance to the concerned coach. The security feature, officials said, will be ready in a month and can be used offline as well.
m-Indicator currently provides train and BEST bus schedules, auto and cab fares, etc. “We are still at the conceptualisation stage. Once the security feature is ready, it will be live-tested before being thrown open for all users,” said a representative of the company behind m-Indicator.
After an executive, Apurva Medda, was attacked in an unescorted ladies compartment between Mira Road and Dahisar stations in June, the RPF studied the travel patterns of women commuters. In Virar-to-Churchgate trains, the study found, women commuters started travelling as early as 5am and the ladies coaches remained packed till noon. Between 1pm and 4pm though, ladies coaches were found nearly empty, and from 11pm till daybreak very few women were found taking the train.
“Based on this study, we increased round-the-clock patrolling by women RPF personnel between Mumbai Central and Churchgate. Patrolling was also stepped up on the Borivli-Virar stretch from midnight to 5am,” said deputy inspector general D B Kasar (RPF WR).
To use the new security feature, an official said, a woman commuter has to fire up m-Indicator and select the train she is travelling on from its menu. “If she feels unsafe, she can hit the emergency button and select her coach. An alert will go out to the RPF control room along with her train’s schedule. Within 5-10 minutes, RPF personnel will be posted at the next station,” said an official, adding that the feature was to be used only in emergencies.