‘Reservations’ and its psychological impact.

My take on the womens’ only coach in the Delhi Metro.

Shreya Garg
May 2, 2018 · 3 min read
Reserved coaches in Delhi Metro. Photo Credit — Shreya Garg.

In 2010, Delhi metro reserved the first coach in the metro for women passengers making it the second Metro in the world to reserve special coaches for women after Dubai. While it was received with great relief from women passengers and from many other groups demanding equal rights for women, this separation of spaces seems to be based on a troublesome thought that women need to be separated from men in order to be safe in a public space, many a times considered to be a man’s territory.

Imagine crowding all the women in one coach. Does that make the rest of the train slightly less accommodating for women? Well, there are people who take both sides. During rush hour when men are stuffed in a coaches like sardines in a can, it sure comes as a relief to many women who’ve lived through harassment in the metro, especially in a cramped box where harassment can easily pass as an unintentional act.

Here, I recount an incident as narrated by a close friend that occurred during a metro ride on a Monday morning while getting late to somewhere.

While many of us deal with these issues on a daily basis, this act of bordering seems problematic as it has a tendency to reinforce the idea that a general compartment is in a way the men’s compartment and if something happens while you were travelling in a general coach, it is really not anybody’s fault, not the government’s, not fellow travellers’ and certainly not the perpetrator’s.

We need to relook at the gaps reinforced by such bordering, especially while designing for our civic infrastructure. Do we need to be comfortable with each other’s presence in public spaces while occupying it together or segregate spaces creating a boundary between them, leading to more gendered spaces?


Crossing Borders is a series undertaken by the Culture Lab at Treemouse. It explores the repercussions of building boundaries to overcome challenges of urbanisation & invokes critique around ‘borders’ being the right way to maintain order. For more on this visit www.treemouse.com

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Shreya Garg

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We build design-led product and marketing strategies