Empowering women is certainly one of most effective tools for the development of a nation. Though more women are participating in economic, social and political activities now compared to a decade ago, there are disheartening statistics about women’s safety around the world, one of the most overlooked concerns being her safety in public transport.
In the light of spreading the message of ‘Safety, Comfort and Convenience of Women in Public Transport’, the third edition of the Kochi Public Transport Day was observed on March 28, 2018. The event started at around 4.30 pm with a march from Rainbow Bridge, Marine Drive, to Lalan Tower, High Court Junction. The campaigners including student volunteers held placards to promote the cause of public transport, and safe, accessible and convenient transport for women. Earlier, the campaign team distributed fliers and sensitised the public about the benefits of using public transport. 
The march was followed by a panel discussion on the theme, ‘Going Places: Safety, Comfort and Convenience of Women in Public Transport’ at the open square before Lalan Tower. The panel comprised Monolita Chatterjee (architect/urban planner), Ajina Mohan (Kudumbashree District Mission representative), Aswathy Dilip (urban designer/senior programme manager, Institute for Transportation & Development Policy [ITDP]) and Namrata Khona (corporate trainer/consultant). Sara John (Senior Project Associate, Centre for Public Policy Research) moderated the discussion.
Besides shedding light on the challenges before women using public transport and working in the sector, the discussion put forth measures to making public transport women-friendly.
The panel examined four major aspects of the topic:
·         Safety of women in public transport
·         Relationship between women’s workforce participation and accessibility to public transport
·         Addressing gender-specific needs in planning and design of public transport policies
·         Incorporating gender-inclusive designs for public transport and public spaces 
Valedictory Session
Valedictory session followed the panel discussion. Dr Gopinath Panangad (Project Consultant, CPPR) honoured the panellists and moderator with mementoes. The ‘Shreshtasanchari Puraskaram’ was presented to two metro passengers of highest patronage to the Kochi Metro for the month of March. The awards instituted by the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) honour metro passengers of highest patronage every month on the Kochi Public Transport Day.
Dignitaries of the partner organisations of the Kochi Public Transport Day shared their messages on the occasion.
Mr APM Mohammed Haneesh IAS (Managing Director, KMRL) emphasised safe and secure travel for women utilising various modes of public transport as the need of the hour. He added that promoting public transport by providing necessary comfort to women is of utmost importance in today’s world.
Mr Rajesh Nair, Convenor of the Youth Forum of Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), stressed the need for ensuring safety and security of women in public transport. He added that the public transport system should be ergonomically designed for women’s comfort and convenience.
Mr Felix K A, Chair of Young Indians (Yi)Kochi chapter, said that the success of public transport depended on how accessible and convenient it is for the public to use. He added that when women feel assured that public transport is safe, comfortable, convenient and accessible, families, not just women, will be willing and happy to travel by public transport.
The third Kochi Public Transport Day is supported by Kochi Metro Rail Limited, Youth Forum of Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Institute for Transportation & Development Policy, Chennai, and Kochi Chapter of Young Indians.
The Youth Forum of Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the sponsor of the third Kochi Public Transport Day.
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