How to Stay Safe While Travelling in Public Transport in India
It is inevitable for us not to travel by public transport in today’s age. It’s a daily routine for most of us to travel by bus, cab or local trains, to reach our destination. However, there have been numerous incidents of theft, harassment and even murders in public transport, the most disturbing being the Nirbhaya Rape case in 2015.
The following tips, if kept in mind will help you stay safe in public transport.
1.Avoid isolated buses, or bus stops especially late at night.
It is very easy to fall victim to theft of harassment if you are alone. It’s always better to make sure that you do not board a bus that is empty. Also, make sure that you don’t get down on an isolated bus stop. If you are out late at night, make sure you know the timings of the last connection. If in case you have to wait for a bus, then wait in a well-lit area.
2. Have your emergency contacts on speed dial
Firstly, keep your close ones informed of your routine or travel schedule. It is always safer to list your family members’ or friends’ or colleagues’ number as an emergency contact and add to your speed dial. So if you’re ever in an unwanted situation, you can quickly raise an alarm.
3. Safety apps
Safety apps basically require a user-decided list of emergency contacts to alert, and transmission of GPS from the determined location. A list of safety apps like Safetipin, Raksha, Smart24x7, Shake2Safety is available online. These can also be used to notify emergency contacts when faced with danger.
4. Always carry a power bank
Listing your contacts on emergency or on speed dial, or even a safety app won’t work if there’s no charge on your phone. The recent case of a Bengaluru girl who was held hostage by a cabbie and harassed, was not able to contact anyone and press the SOS button on the app because there was no charge in her phone. So always make sure that you carry your power bank with you at all times.
5. Check your cab
Firstly, make sure and get inside the cab that you booked. Next, check the child-lock facility on the doors and whether it is unlocked. Keep the conversations at a professional level. Also, make sure that you send the details of your cab to a close friend or family member.
6. Get into a Women’s compartment in trains
Be it Delhi metro or the Mumbai local, or any other train, make sure that you use the compartment or coach that is reserved for women. This will ensure your safety, especially during rush hours.
7. Keep your bag tightly secured
Make sure that your handbag is zipped properly. If you have a backpack, then remove it from your shoulders and catch it in front to avoid theft. Also, try not to open your wallet in buses or trains to avoid snatching.
8. Do not sleep
One may tend to doze off after a tiring day, which makes you an easy target. It is the perfect way to have your wallet, camera, backpack and other stuff stolen. Plus, you could end up in a strange place at the end of the bus line with no way to get back. So try to keep your eyes open at all time and stay alert to your surroundings.
If someone is making you feel uncomfortable or uneasy or if you feel threatened, then feel free to change your seat. Alert the conductor or the driver.
10. Carry a pepper spray
It is the easiest way to deal with an infiltrator. Carry a pepper spray with you, in your bag, at all times. It’s extremely effective, non-lethal and legal in all 50 states.
11. Trust your instincts
This is something we as women are good at. Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable with a cab or auto driver or in a bus, then don’t get into it. Always go with your gut.
With these few tips, you can take a step from your side to be safe. Remember that not all public transportation is unsafe for women, but it’s always better to be prepared for the worse.
Heena Mangani is an intern with SheThePeople.TV