Railway firm discriminates women, promises change

Railway firm discriminates women, promises change

Sibel Cingi - ISTANBUL/Radikal
Railway firm discriminates women, promises change

The online ticket sales site of Turkish State Raiiways does not allow women customers to choose from all available seats in trains, while men can choose. Hürriyet photo

Turkish State Railways (TCDD) has said it is working on new online sales software to put an end to its sales process that prevents female customers from choosing from every available seat.

In spite of all the modernization efforts regarding the railway network, gender-based differentiation in ticket sales at TCDD translates into discrimination against women.

Customers have to signify their gender first to buy tickets on the online sales platform.

But women technically cannot buy online tickets for any open seat on trains, as they are only offered single seats or seats next to other women, which means women do not have access to all the free seats. The software simply chooses the seat for female customers.

All seats open to men

Men, however, can choose from all the seat options such as window, aisle, single seat or wheelchair.
Abdülkadir Aygül, the president of the passenger department at the TCDD, said updated software is being developed. “We are developing a new infrastructure. In other words all the seats will be seen and chosen from in the new system,” he said.

Assigning women seats next to other women has been a traditional practice of the bus transportation firms in Turkey for decades. Yet, male passengers do not have any privilege in choosing seats on buses. Their online sales platforms enable both female and male customers to see all the available seats.

Railway investments have been a priority for the government since 2003 and related funds have increased 7.5 fold.