RELEASE: Gender Inclusion in Future Transport: MMRDA Adopts Gender-Related Findings to Make Metro Commute Accessible and Appealing to Women
Mumbai May 2, 2022: The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) on Monday released findings from the Gender Inclusive Future Transport (GIFT) project, an initiative supported by the UK government in collaboration with World Resources Institute India (WRI India) that researched the differences in the travel needs of men and women.
The MMRDA commissioner said that the report will inform the agency’s gender strategy, including the need to continuously collect gender-disaggregated data. MMRDA is also aiming to increase the number of women working in metro operations including station controllers, security staff, ticketing personnel, etc.
Public transit operations and planning around the world are increasingly data-driven and automated. However, there is a growing understanding that ‘gender blind’ data, can inadvertently exclude the needs of women and other groups. This is a challenge for digital innovation in many sectors, not just transport.
With this initiative, MMRDA becomes the first metro agency in the country, and one of the few metro entities globally, to acknowledge the gender-led variances in travel patterns, decision-making and perspectives towards safety. With Mumbai Metro lines 2A (Dahisar-DN Nagar) and 7 (Dahisar East-Andheri East) launched on the 2nd of April 2022, this is a significant step towards ensuring inclusive and sustainable mobility for all.
Some key highlights from Gender Inclusive Future Transport, initiated by UK Government:
- Women as Primary Caregivers: While men use the metro for work and social visits, women also use it for care-giving activities such as shopping, doctor visits etc. Women are also seen carrying heavy bags or travelling with dependents on most occasions. About 76% women and 64% men reported having travelled with dependents on the metro and would want priority access at the ticketing and security along with reserved seating while travelling with dependents.
- Safety and Convenience Matters: 78% of women prefer the women’s coach, associating it more with safety than convenience. Only 35% of women felt that access routes to the stations are safe compared to more than 50% of men who felt perfectly safe on the same routes.
- Cost of Commute: Women who take the metro to work spend 21% more money on a trip than men. The reasons include expensive or multiple mode choices owing to a shortage of time, a sense of personal safety, accompanying dependents, and undertaking multiple activities in the same trip (trip chaining). However, among non-users, 69% of women stated that higher fare rates are the primary reason for not using the metro.
- Cashless Ticketing Preferences: 35% of women and 38% of men purchase their tickets or cards entirely through digital modes. Excluding homemakers, the digital uptake of women is marginally higher than that of men. 65% of homemakers go to the counter every time they have to purchase a ticket. More than 80% of homemakers who use the metro said that flexibility in cost and duration would encourage them to use the cards.
- Priorities for Metro Users: Women recommend security, better lighting and crowd management to improve their travel experience while men prioritized better amenities, signage and crowding. While men’s sensitivity towards overcrowding is related to the ongoing pandemic, for women, overcrowding also means potential exposure to harassment.
Releasing the study, Mr S. V. R. Srinivas, IAS, Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA, said, “MMRDA holds great pleasure in incorporating data related to gender mainstreaming into Mumbai Metro’s data tool. This will radically change the agency’s ability to understand and serve the needs of women. Through this initiative, MMRDA’s Metro Line 2A and 7 is well equipped to ensure inclusive growth for Mumbai."
Mr Alan Gemmel, HM Trade Commissioner South Asia and Deputy High Commissioner Western India, said: “The UK and Maharashtra are working together to help make public transport safer for women. Today's report shows that gender-inclusive mobility systems underpin growth and prosperity in the State. My friend, Hon'ble Minister Aaditya Thackeray has championed tackling gender inequality and promoting women's inclusion for many years. We are delighted to support this work by WRI India and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority as we continue to develop and strengthen the great UK-Maharashtra partnership.”
Ms Harshita Jamba, Senior Project Associate, Sustainable Cities and Transport, WRI India, added, “When a city's transport system works well for its women and children, then it works well for everyone. We are thankful to the metropolitan authority for its vision and leadership in adopting an evidence-based approach to making the Mumbai Metro more appealing and accessible for women. This is a vital step towards strengthening our public transport and inclusive mobility for all."
The Gender Inclusive Future Transport (GIFT) - an initiative by the UK Government, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and WRI India - seeks to capture gendered differences in mobility for the active metro system in Mumbai. The lack of data aggregated by gender inhibits the understanding of differing travel patterns and the needs of women in public, commercial and private mobility. This hampers the development of policies, innovation and practical solutions that could make mobility more women inclusive. This study, which takes a data-driven approach, has the potential to shape specific interventions to improve mobility solutions for all with a focus on making metro travel more accessible and convenient for women.