Subway – pathway of fear?

The city’s infrastructure needs are growing by the day. Development plans are created and implemented almost daily. Are a woman’s needs addressed in these plans? Or do they have to make do with generic plans that help no one in particular? Like the city’s subways?

Recently, I was waiting at the Bommanahalli signal and saw a young college girl scurry across the road, risking vehicles whizzing past at full speed. She did not use the new subway that has been open for trials for the last few months. As I waited for the signal to turn green I watched more women, some with children do this. More men on the other hand were using the subway. It couldn’t be that the women in the city have developed a sense of adventure, was it?

There is more to this of course. Many new subways have come up around the city in the past year or so. Some argue that these are not planned well enough to help pedestrians as such. The fact is fewer women use it. There is an inherent fear factor attached to subways by women. The image one has about subways is poorly lit, long, empty claustrophobic tunnel. And while you are down there if there is even one shady looking man who may or not be harmful, it is enough to send shivers down the spine. Add to that dirt and filth over passage of time.

Women don’t venture down there unless they are in a group or have men accompanying them. The subways at the Bommanahalli and Garvebhavipalya junctions are still too new for any of this. But as one of the readers of Citizen Matters points out here, it won’t be long before things go awry. And if you are old or pregnant then the long flight of stairs down and up isn’t helpful at all.

Safety is a huge concern for women. We’d rather risk getting run over by a speeding vehicle than confront a man alone, in the not so bright subway. One is given to understand that subways are the best option for pedestrian safety. I am not sure that applies to women as well. What about skywalks? A lady once suggested posting one or two guards in the subways. But is it feasible to do that? What do you do?  ⊕

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About Padmalatha Ravi 41 Articles
Padmalatha Ravi is an independent journalist and filmmaker.


  1. good article! needs of women are never taken into account when designing the city. as for sub-ways, BBMP was planning to hire security guards for them!

    pedestrain subways are a terrible idea and must be banned..ppl should be given space to cross on the roads. how will the disabled and elderly use pedestrian subways ??

  2. The problem is the subways created to let the traffic zip across and the urban centric plans that waste humongous amount of money on elevated roads and useless subways. And you have divided highways where bullock carts ply forcing them to go against the traffic. Road designers need some common sense and not just ape the western model – that doesn’t fit here.

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