Scottish transport bosses should explore increasing staff presence to help women feel safer, says report

Transport bosses should explore increasing the presence of staff to help women and girls feel safer, a new report has said.

Research found women and girls were being forced to adapt their own behaviour and change their travel habits on public transport.

The report, commissioned by Transport Scotland, recommends exploring the feasibility of increasing the presence and visibility of staff across the transport network, including on trains and at stations.

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It also backs the introduction of systems to regularly monitor, upgrade and repair lighting and communications systems, as well as carrying out a comprehensive review of staff training on both their own safety and how to support and protect passengers.

The new report makes a number of recommendations.The new report makes a number of recommendations.
The new report makes a number of recommendations.

Transport minister Jenny Gilruth said: “Everyone has the right to feel safe and supported on Scotland’s public transport system, including women and girls, which is why this work has been one of my key priorities over the last year.

“During our research, women and girls told us they shoulder significant responsibility for adapting their own behaviour to try to ‘be’ and ‘feel’ safe on public transport. They are often in a constant state of vigilance, particularly at night-time, and as a result end up changing their plans – only travelling at certain points of the day or not using public transport altogether. This is simply not acceptable in 21st-century Scotland.

“We will now work with transport operators and stakeholders to carefully consider these recommendations and how we can implement them quickly and effectively, to ensure our transport network is safer and more secure for all who use it.”

Superintendent Arlene Wilson, of the British Transport Police, said women’s safety on the rail network was a “key priority”. She said: “The findings from this research will support our aim of ensuring every woman and girl can travel on the rail network without fear of harassment or intimidation.”

Kate Wallace, chief executive of Victim Support Scotland, said: “Victim Support Scotland welcomes this focus on increasing women and girls’ safety on public transport. While incidents are still too high, we welcome steps being taken to improve reporting and for complaints to be taken seriously.”



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