According to the Mid Day, pregnant women may soon be allowed to board the Mumbai commuter train cars reserved for disabled passengers. Apparently this isn’t the first time this rule change has been proposed by the National Railway Users Consultative Committee; however last time up, rail officials rejected it outright. Their reason? “It would be difficult to identify all pregnant women.”
So this time they are thinking about limiting the privilege to women in their third trimester. Presumably they would be easier to identify.Now don’t get me wrong, I know it’s hard to ride a crowded train when you’re eight months pregnant; however if you let all the pregnant women travel in the disabled carriage, then it will take space away from disabled people. In my mind, it’s the difference between comfort and absolute need.
And what about the people traveling with the pregnant women — where would they go? I can’t imagine any woman letting her children ride in another car, so most likely they would be with her, taking up more space reserved for disabled passengers.
I guess I’d be OK with it if they added another disabled carriage and told the pregnant women they had to give up their space if a disabled person needed it. But that honor system thing really hasn’t worked out in other societies, so I guess that’s not a real solution here either.
Why don’t they just add a “pregnant car”? Or designate one car, or even a section of a car as dedicated space for pregnant women only? I mean they already have a car for women only, so it’s not like it would be such a groundbreaking idea.
I can’t help but think that this is a giant step back for Mumbai as far as access is concerned. Hopefully rail officials will do the right thing, and not take the space away from folks — those disabled passengers — who really need it. Time will tell.