From the Viewsroom

Our glitzy but unsafe airports

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on June 27, 2019 Published on June 27, 2019

We need safe, not just smart cities and airports for women

Urban planners need to put themselves in a woman’s shoes to understand how even a simple drive to the airport, for instance, can be a traumatic incident waiting to happen.

For women travelling solo in a cab to airports even in savvy cities such as Bengaluru or Hyderabad, especially in the twilight hours, the ride can be quite unnerving. Even more so, if you are unfamiliar with the geography of the place. The roads to these fancy airports involve long stretches, sometimes on dirt-tracks and with little or no street lights. There are no security kiosks or police presence on these routes, in case something goes wrong.

Switch to Mumbai’s international airport. If you need to leave the airport post midnight, you will be at the mercy of surge-priced app cabs or may have to undertake a haphazard search for Mumbai’s famed meter-cabs. Going by personal experience, guards at the airport do not think it’s out of line to force women travelling alone to get out of taxis that are hailed on their way out of the airport.

In their over-zealousness to stop outside taxis from beating the airport’s private cab system, these guards do not seem concerned about the safety of the passengers who have to fend for themselves, often in the wee hours, when the app cabs and others are not readily available. They should instead ensure that the women get their cabs and reach home safely, instead of being marooned in a discomfiting ambience.

This has been the recent experience at three swanky airports, and it is likely that other airports in the country pose similar challenges. Modern airports only tell us how smart cities and mega projects are planned without a thought to creating systems that enhance the safety of travellers.

Women need to be able to travel safely, and unaccompanied. Sharing cab details and travel routes with family or using a tracker are of little use if help is unable to reach you at the earliest, in case of trouble.

Published on June 27, 2019
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