Women-only rail carriages

Simple way to improve the safety of women on public transport proposed for Australia

Female-only train carriages should be introduced on metropolitan services in Australian cities, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) proposed this week.

Threatening, unwanted sexual or anti-social behaviour towards female is a problem on public transport and a deterrent for those who would use public transport services if they felt safer, particularly after dark.

"Everyone has the right to travel safely without having to worry about being harassed, abused or assaulted," Rail, Tram and Bus Union national secretary Bob Nanva says.

"We must do more to protect commuters from thugs and perverts on public transport."

More security staff are also being called for to help public transport users to feel safer especially at night.

"Since September 2012, there have been 2859 criminal offences against women on public transport, including almost 19 sexual offences against women on New South Wales bus, tram and train networks every month and this is simply unacceptable," Nanva says.

Germany and Japan have trailed female-only carriages after hours, while Indonesia , Malaysia, the Philippines, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Japan and India have them as a permanent feature.

"Of course, every train carriage, tram and bus should be safe, and no passenger should have to put up with violent and anti-social behaviour," Nanva says.

"If this initiative helped people to feel safer and more confident about catching public transport then we think it’s worth considering."

The proposed safe carriages could boost patronage, would cost very little to introduce and ideally be fitted with distress buttons, CCTV, and have regular checks by security staff.

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