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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Chennai MTC-Left half for ladies-why not front half?

It is quite common in city buses (and other places) that a portion is reserved for women. Usually, front few rows (almost 50%) are reserved for lady passengers in most of the cities (Bangalore, Hyderabad etc).

But in Chennai city buses (in ordinary buses) left half of the bus is reserved for women. I fail to understand on what logic this decision is taken. (I am NOT questioning why 50% is reserved for ladies. What I mean is reserving left half portion of the bus to ladies will not serve the actual purpose.)

The drawbacks of reserving left half portion of the bus for ladies (as against front half) are as follows:

Ladies do not get a dedicated space. They get mixed up with male passengers and this may not be good for them.

They have to use both front and rear doors, fighting with male commuters (for standing seats, while boarding the bus or getting down etc). (Where front half is reserved for ladies the front door is usually not used by male passengers)
inside a MTC bus in Chennai
Because of 2 doors and a conductor’s seat, number of seats they get is little less than 50%. Also left side seats are usually 2 seaters and right side ones can accommodate 3 passengers. In such cases they loose additional seats.

So far I’m unable to make out what advantage this left half reservation (vis-à-vis front half) delivers to the lady commuters. If you can think of any or if there’s a strong reason/logic behind this please drop a comment.

A photo I’ve taken related to this will be upload soon (may be few days to few weeks)

Related: Chennai Volvo City Buses| Bangalore Volvo City Buses | BMTC Bangalore|

Update: PlaneMad has provided following reasons in his comment for this left half reservation: (Updated the post with comment and my response)

1)the rear door is for entering while the front is for exiting, not that it is followed, but in this case a left-right division makes more sense

2)its easier for the ladies to pass their money to the conductor at the rear this way

3)some mixing between the ladies-gents is good. please, no more polorization between the sexes in Chennai

4) ladies don't need 50% reservation, the region between the two doors is sufficient in most cases. and all seats are 2 seaters in Chennai.

5) it also makes it easier to follow a pattern of getting into the bus using the rear door, buying a ticket and leaving exiting the front.

My observation:
1.- Makes sense in theory but not sure how practical it is. When the bus is leaving a depot conductor moves to each passenger and issues ticket. Once he/she's done with first round he/she establishes himself/herself in the seat dedicated to conductor. Then onwards everyone need to pass money and get ticket. I have never seen anyone boarding through rear door, traveling all the way to front door in heavy rush to get down.

2.- Agreed (Still the whole idea why conductor shouldn't move from his place to issue ticket puzzles me. What if some money is lost while it passes through multiple hands? What if conductor hears a wrong destination than what passenger initially conveyed? What if some passenger keeps the money and gives an old ticket to the requester...)

3.- I agree mixing is required, but should it be inside a crowded bus? One of the primary reason why some seats are reserved for ladies is to prevent incidents of "disturbance from male passengers" by giving some dedicated space to ladies.

4.- Fine with me. No further comments.

5.- As explained in first point.

Tell us what you think-Front Half? Or Left Half?

November 2010: Looks like MTC is attempting to change the plans. As an experiment, in some buses, right side is being reserved for ladies... but this measure hasn't received praises... source: flashnews

Also read: Why BMTC is faring better than its rivals| Bangalore Volvo City Buses|Bangalore-Hyderabad by Bus * Chennai Roadies * MMTS local train ride *

9 comments :

PlaneMad said...

1)the rear door is for entering while the front is for exiting, not that it is followed, but in this case a left-right division makes more sense

2)its easier for the ladies to pass their money to the conductor at the rear this way

3)some mixing between the ladies-gents is good. please, no more polorarisation between the sexes in chennai

4) ladies dont need 50% reservation, the region between the two doors is sufficient in most cases. and all seats are 2 seaters in chennai.

5) it also makes it easier to follow a pattern of getting into the bus using the rear door, buying a ticket and leaving exiting the front.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Planemad, The comment was quite useful and thanks for that. I have updated the post with your comments and my response to it.

Let me know what you think.

hari said...

In Tamil Nadu, everything is different from every other state. Welcome to Bizaro Land :-)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hari, :)

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pottan said...

I came here from Desipundit. I did not know about this rule in Chennai MTC buses. And having got to know this, I think its a good idea!

Because, usually, in the "Front seat reservation" scenario, women enters almost only through the front door, and stays there. If she does not find a seat in the front, no one thinks about going to the back even though free seats are available, because it is considered as an exception, since she will be almost alone in the back (the rest will be males).

And hence, you will see too many women ( girls in uniform included) crowding the front of the bus even when there is enough space ( at least to stand) in the back.

The Chennai experience can turn this around.

Yea, women will be in the receiving end from the eve-teasers and the sex maniacs ( there are a lot of them, esp if the bus is crowded). So I think a better idea would be to have the first two seats in the front and the whole of a few seats in the left side ( even in the back) reserved for women.

This comes just out of my head after reading your post, any way what I and you say is not going to matter!

:-)

Anonymous said...

Left side for ladies rule is applicable for buses that has two doors. There are buses with doors in middle alone, in which fornt side is for ladies only.

Sandesh said...

I strongly feel that the 50% reservation is just a cumbersome arrangement! Though i havent seen it! I still would prefer front seats reserved for ladies, elderly people and the handicapped in my city.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Pottan,

If 50% is reserved for women it should imply that rest 50% is for reserved for men right???? :)

Anonymus, thanks for that info...Even I noticed that of late...(the slightly blue coloured buses)

Sandesh: Thanks