Why are men using ‘women-only coaches’? And is it so wrong? (Update #1)

TRANSIT noted this recent article which complains that male passengers are still using the ‘women-only’ coaches on the KTM Komuter trains.

A young male passenger on board the women-only coach. At least he is standing and not occupying a seat? And check out the logo on his bag! Image courtesy of The Star.

TRANSIT now has to wonder – what is it that is happening here? With all the fanfare about introducing ‘women-only’ coaches (and their subsequent extension to ‘women-only’ buses on some RapidKL bus routes), is it really possible that people are unaware of these services? Or worse, are they aware and going ahead with their actions anyways, hoping that they would not get caught.

Or even worse – perhaps they feel unsafe or overcrowded in the other ‘mixed-gender’ carriages?

It may feel like a joke but TRANSIT is not amused. We are in fact disappointed to see the public transport policy is being written ‘on the fly’ and actions are clearly not in line with expectations (assuming those expectations are even clear to begin with).

Read the article after the jump.

Many still using women-only coaches (The Star)
23 January 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: The coaches clearly carry signs that they are for women only, yet many men get into them and race with women for the seats.

While some men claimed ignorance, others just did not care.

A KTM Komuter passenger who only wanted to be identified as Rafiq, seen inside one of the coaches on the Seremban route on Friday, was sheepish to be surrounded by women, some of whom were glaring at him.

“I am so embarrassed. I had no idea it was the ladies’ coach. It is my first time taking the KTM Komuter,” he explained.

Another male passenger, Oliver from Manila, said that he saw another man entering the commuter train and followed.

Regular public transport user Norazun Mat Yasop was not amused as there had been many occasions of men cramming into the women-only coaches.

“I have told men to leave when I see them but it still happens regularly. Sometimes they do it on purpose because those coaches are less crowded,” she said.

Norazun said that she had made two complaints to KTM but no action was taken.

Manpreet Kaur Randhawa, 20, who takes the train every morning to college, said the problem is due to lack of enforcement.

“Some stations do not have officers to enforce the rules,” she said

However, she admitted that sometimes men mistakenly entered the coaches because they did not see the sign.

She suggested that bigger signboards and banners be put up to create greater awareness among commuters.

KTMB commuter services senior manager Azreen Mohamed Yusup said that continuous efforts had been made to ensure that women-only coaches remained just that.

“We revised the logo to make it bigger and more universal and we are constantly enhancing our services. We also hired an additional 50 officers this month to enforce the rule and to monitor security at KTM premises.

“But at the end of the day, it is the civic-mindedness of men that is important,” she said.

Azreen added that KTM might impose fines if the current measures remained ineffective.

TRANSIT Says:

Ok, so there is the article. Now, the comments from Azreen Mohd. Yusop are interesting. According to her, KTMB has hired more security officers and increased the size of their signs and made them more visible.

The next step may be to introduce fines.

We have to ask, is that a wise idea? We already can see that passengers are being alienated by the women-only coaches – unhappy because KTM Komuter service is infrequent and unpredictable.

The suggestion of introducing fines is not only adding insult to injury, one has to wonder if it is even legal under existing Malaysian law or bylaws/local laws specific to KTMB.

TRANSIT thinks that the problem is more towards KTMB service and the communication of information. It is not appropriate for KTM to introduce women-only carriages and threaten to fine male passengers if KTMB cannot maintain a level of service commensurate with the expectations of all passengers.

In other words, if KTMB can guarantee a train every 5-7 minutes, most male passengers would not even think of entering a ‘women-only coach’ (even if they were young boys or senior citizens accompanying a lady passenger).

But if KTMB cannot offer that basic level of service at a level that is reasonably equitable, what right do they have to threaten to fine male passengers? Instead, they should be offering male passengers refunds or incentives if they have to wait for a second (or third) trains.

This letter below basically sums up what (we think) most people would say about the coaches, given the choice:

Just increase train frequency (The Star)

I REFER to “Men not getting the message” (The Star, Jan 23).

I was boarding at the KTM station in Serdang recently.

As usual the train was packed, and my wallet was pick-pocketed during the rush into the train.

My point is if the train is more frequent, there won’t be a need to have women-only coaches as the packed situation would not be happening or be reduced. Pick-pockets are just one of the problems.

I wish KTM can provide a more safe and comfortable journey for all passengers, women and men, young and old and the disabled.

DISAPPOINTED,
Malacca.

And here is the ‘investigative’ feature that makes up our update:

Women-only coaches attracting men (The Star)
26 January 2011

By YIP YOKE TENG
Photos by LOW LAY PHON

KTM Berhad introduced women-only coaches on April last year for the safety and comfort of the fairer sex. However, a check by StarMetro on a weekday morning revealed that some men are still unaware of it or choose to ignore the ruling.

ARE they in the dark or are they doing it deliberately? Men are still seen making their way into the women-only coaches on the KTM trains.

It is puzzling that despite the many pink signages stating “Ladies only at all times” placed at prominent places on the KTM station’s platforms and inside the coaches, some men just do not see them.

Oblivious to his surrounding: A man boarding the women’s coach.


TRANSIT Says:


As always, we want to have your feedback on these issues. Please comment in the space below, and thank you!

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8 thoughts on “Why are men using ‘women-only coaches’? And is it so wrong? (Update #1)”

  1. Are you really clear about Malaysians mentality or you have just arrived in this country. A lot of Malaysians mentality is,”as long as I can achieved my purpose or destination, any method will do.”

    1. Hi Jeffrey

      We are familiar with the ‘Malaysian mentality’ that you describe though we prefer not to stereotype.

      If that Malaysian mentality applies in this case, we need to look at the passenger and KTMB. Part of the reason that mentality can exist is because of the lack of enforcement (generally in Malaysian society and specifically on KTM platforms) that allows people to assume they can do whatever they want, even if it comes at the expense of others, or violates rules/laws (or both).

      What is worse is, under that ‘Malaysian mentality’ lens, one could argue that ‘women-only coaches’ was a stopgap solution meant to make it look like KTMB actually cared about the safety concerns of the majority of their passengers.

      But that would be taking the cynical view 🙂 And we prefer to leave that to others.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  2. What really angers me about the Women Only Coaches is that in many cases single/groups of women unaccompanied by men will use the other two coaches when the train arrives.

    As it is the other two coaches are brimming to bursting and the Koc Wanita is only half full. And women get angry at men for using said coach?

    If KTMB is serious about continuing with the farce of Koc Wanita then they should damn well be forcing women who are unaccompanied by male companions to use the coach.

    When they first started the service, there was a guard riding in the Koc Wanita who kept male passengers out. Now they’ve stopped bothering hence why you find men in the coach.

    Also I could have sworn that when they first launched this service some bigwig from KTM/Ministry of Transport stated that if the other coaches are full then men will be allowed to use the middle coach under said circumstances.

    Evidently that was pure bullshit/fishing for votes from the masses of course.

    The comments by Azreen of KTM above are laughable. You want to continue with the Koc Wanita then you brazenly put as many banners/signboards screaming about it. I can go to Sentral KL, sure there are a couple of boards proclaiming Koc Wanita but it’s insufficient.

    I’d put buntings before one hits the escalators/stairs and also just after one leaves it as well. “GUNALAH KOC WANITA DI TENGAH TREN! KOC WANITA ADALAH UNTUK PEREMPUAN SAHAJA! USE THE LADIES COACH IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TRAIN! THE LADIES COACH IS FOR LADIES ONLY!”

    Before the train arrives have an automated announcement screaming the joys and virtues of KOC WANITA. Drive it into the mind of female passengers who qualify to only use it. Then yes, maybe, just maybe you’ll find that us poor men don’t have to fight to get into the train.

    My suggestion though if KTM is serious about trying to cope with the rider load (and the fact that I don’t seen any new trains being commissioned even though new additions were supposed to start from late last year right?)? Scrap Koc Wanita. Make the middle coach a standing room only coach. Get rid of all the seats.

    It may be uncomfortable for many passengers but hell at least during peak hours we might not have to behave like rugby players to get on.

    1. @Yaz

      Thanks for the feedback. May we suggest that you send your comments to SPAD so that they are aware of public concerns over the implementation of the Koc Wanita service.

      Contact information is at the top left side of our website.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  3. Done! Thanks for pointing that out, Moaz. Appreciate it.

    Not really keeping my fingers crossed that SPAD will do anything about it though. I keep recalling that article of our former sleeping prime minister riding the Komuter, finding the service abyssmal and saying, “Something must be done.” and of course nothing ever was.

  4. Unfortunately whether peak or non peak, quite a number of men didn’t care about the sign or respect space for women.
    After being told that it’s a ladies coach most men ignore women who informed them and continue to remain seated.
    Unfortunately this is what the men are showing us women. They couldn’t care less about our safety, comfort and our concern.

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