05/14/2013, 00.00
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After six months, Jakarta commuter rail drops women-only trains

The service was introduced to stop sexual violence and harassment on trains. However, it was only used during peak hours and ignored the rest of the day. Because of overcrowding, the rail company has had to pull the plug on the service to increase capacity.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) - After running the service for barely six months, Indonesia's state railway company has had to cancel its women-only trains.

PT Kereta Api Indonesia launched seven brightly painted women-only trains in October 2012 as part of a plan to increase the safety of female passengers.

They were intended to stop incidents of sexual harassment in overcrowded mixed-gender commuter cars connecting Jakarta to areas outside the city.

However, the trains had only been popular with women during rush hour, and not at other times of the day, said PT Kereta Api spokeswoman Eva Chairunnisa, this despite the fact that all of their mixed-gender services are busy at all times.

For this reason, "To increase capacity, we decided to convert the women-only trains into regular ones," Chairunnisa explained.

Overcrowding on Indonesian train services is a chronic problem so much so that many commuters choose to ride on train rooftops despite the risk. In fact, cases of passengers falling off rooftops or being electrocuted are daily occurrences.

In addition to women's only carriages, the company introduced a number of deterrents to stop the practice, like special paint on train rooftops and concrete balls above train tracks. So far, they have not had any major success.


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