Can Chennai MRTS be made safe?

The Hindu recently ran a full-length feature on security in Chennai’s Mass Rapid Transit Stations, in the backdrop of a mugging in South Chennai. That is a welcome look at the state of the systems in operation in an expensive rail network in a metropolitan city. Unfortunately, such issues do not get sustained coverage. What has been the response of the official machinery to the one-off feature? Is there scope to break the problem down into separate parts and analyse each ? For instance, lighting, availability of compatible commercial activity that attracts visitors and ensures presence of shopkeepers at all times?

A useful primer is provided by UITP, the international union of transport operators in this document (pdf). Arguably, the most important point is for the transport provider — and by extension the government which runs it in many cases — to make security an integral part of customer service. Enough leads to investigate the state of the MRTS and suburban network here.

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