Female-only subway cars are being introduced in Guangzhou, Guandong province, from next week to increase the safety of female commuters.
One carriage on each train on Line 1 will be made available to female passengers at peak hours in the morning and evening, according to the city’s metro service.
Male passengers will be allowed to use the carriages outside those hours, to avoid the waste of public resources.
The initiative follows concerns expressed by Su Zhongyang, a Guangdong provincial political advisor, who said women are more vulnerable to sexual harassment or inappropriate situations in overcrowded trains during the rush hours.
“Public transportation resources are relatively scarce in Shenzhen. Setting up female-only cars may intensify this problem. Segregating people by gender might lead to more congestion in other carriages since male passengers can’t enter them during peak hours,” said Wang Xue, a member of Shenzhen’s Political Consultative Conference.
She added the arrangement will greatly reduce the available carriage space, affecting the overall transport capacity of trains.
Despite the criticisms, 32% of people still welcome the action, according to a survey by Wang Rong, chairman of the Guangdong provincial committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
Better facilities for pregnant women and children, caring for female passengers, and avoiding sexual harassment were among the top reasons for supporting the initiative.