April 24, 2006

Women applaud no-men, pink-striped Rio metro cars

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) - Women commuters filled
female-only, pink-striped subway cars in the Brazilian city of
Rio de Janeiro on Monday on the first day of a scheme to avert
groping and other unwanted sexual advances.

A law passed by the state legislature and signed by Rio
Gov. Rosinha Matheus last month obliged the underground Metro
and above-ground railways to have separate passenger cars for
women during the weekday rush hours.

"It's the first day today and we had women applauding when
men, who had entered their carriage without knowing about the
rule, got off," a spokeswoman for the private Metro Rio company

Frequent complaints from women commuters about sexual
harassment in crowded railway cars had prompted state
legislators to pass the bill.

One car in every of Metro Rio's 33 trains is marked with
pink stripes on doors and windows. The company said female
passengers would themselves control men's entry into the cars,
seeking the help of security guards if necessary.

Railroad company Supervia, which serves Rio and its
suburbs, identifies its female-only cars with signs similar to
those on women's restrooms.

Men won't be barred from the female-only cars during an
initial phase but after that railroad police would enforce the
new rule, a Supervia spokesman said.

Rio joins Tokyo and Mexico City as major cities that
provide female-only train cars.