RMT responds to Scottish Government research on women and girls’ safety on public transport

RMT responds to Scottish Government research on women and girls’ safety on public transport

7 March 2023

RMT Press Office

A Transport Scotland report has recommended that increasing staff levels on public transport should be explored in order to make women and girls feel safer.

According to the report, increasing onboard staff on trains and other modes of public transport would "add significantly to women's sense of safety and may lead to an uptake in public transport at night."


The report also found that women felt "more comfortable if ticket offices were open and staffed (especially later at night), and also if there were staff close to or in waiting room areas."


One woman said: "I definitely think that the stations do feel safer when they’re staffed. We do have a lot of unstaffed stations in this country, and we also have a lot of like booking offices… that shut pretty early… probably at the time where people are starting to feel a little unsafer would be when these booking offices are shut."


With regard to on board rail staff, "many women also spoke of feeling safer" in the presence of transport staff such as conductors or guards.


The report also found "there was consensus that more staff per se would make people feel at ease, some respondents stressed that having at least one member of female staff available on train routes/journeys may make female passengers feel doubly safe."


One female passenger surveyed said: “I probably would feel more safer with a woman in some ways… just from the fact that they tend to be a bit more compassionate and empathetic and maybe understand that, as a woman, the kind of things that might be going through my head while I’m on the train or if I’m witnessing something or being harassed in a certain way.”


Up to 60% of ScotRail stations are currently unstaffed and RMT is urging the Scottish government to respond to these recommendations by increasing staff across the network.


The union also called on the Scottish government to rule out ticket office cuts once and for all in light the report.


A decision about whether to cut hours at the majority of ScotRail’s ticket offices is still sitting with the Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth MSP.


RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: "This is a welcome report which confirms that the presence of staff is key to ensuring women and girls feel safe on public transport.


"Given that around 60% of ScotRail stations are unstaffed we urge the Scottish Government to act on the report’s recommendations and increase staff on public transport to improve the safety of women and girls.


"The Scottish government must also rule out ticket office closures on ScotRail once and for all."


Notes: The 'Women's and girls' views and experiences of personal safety when using public transport' report can be read in full here.

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Tagged with: Scotland, Women, Safety