Why do marginalised people go to railway stations?
For those who are homeless, stations seem to be the best place available to respond to basic needs. In fact, stations provide services, shops, transportation, toilets, food and restaurants, banks, post offices, information, special assistance, healthcare and even arts in some cases. And, in terms of relationships, they facilitate connections between people.
Unlike the stations, the neighbourhoods where they are located are often very ugly ones. Cheap shops, faded buildings, low-quality hotels, hustlers, illegal business seem to be the common features of transit areas. Such surroundings do have an impact on the presence of marginalised people in the stations, for it is the station to supply to the lacks of the city around, and to grant a relatively pleasant environment to any social group, included vulnerable persons, and young people, who are able to spend their time, build their relationships, being both in groups or alone, in (almost) total freedom and anonymity.
As a matter of fact, passengers’ flow makes everyone invisible in a railway station, or in transit areas in a broader sense. Youth can be independent here, come from suburbs, go elsewhere in town, meet friends or comrades, or rivals as well. In this special microcosmos, reflecting all the contradictions occurring in the city, life for some people can be very challenging, and so it is for youngsters, often vulnerable and bereft of positive models to follow.