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Women ‘too scared to use trains, trams’, briefing to transport chiefs reveals

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Luas security patrols

Luas security patrols

Luas security patrols

Passengers are to be surveyed on their experiences of public transport after dark amid fears some women are afraid to travel on services.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) survey comes after a woman was kicked at a Dart station, causing her to fall beneath a stationary train.

An internal presentation for the NTA board said lower passenger numbers on services had made the problems of anti-social behaviour even more visible for customers.

And it said a significant part of people’s fears about public transport related to the “last mile” of their journey as they reached their homes.

The briefing had been requested by the board, which believed safety on buses, trains, and Luas services was a matter of “particular concern”.

It said Transdev — which operates Dublin's Luas — had reported a rise in incidents this year and last, but other operators had noted reductions.

The presentation said an antisocial behaviour working group had been set up that met every two to three months to discuss ongoing issues.

On bus services, the main problems were stone throwing and scutting, the practice of hanging on to the back of vehicles. The NTA board was told an engineering solution was being worked on to ensure this was no longer possible.

The most serious antisocial behaviour was reported on Irish Rail services and the Luas, according to the presentation.

This was primarily “groups of youths gathering to cause trouble” as well as “drug and alcohol-related incidences”, especially in Dublin city centre.

Transdev faced particular problems with its Red Line service that connects the Point Depot to Tallaght and Citywest.

“They are developing a proposal where they will put two security staff on most trams in key line sections for a six- to eight-week duration when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted,” the presentation said.

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It said concerns around women being fearful of public transport must be addressed.

Research has shown female travel patterns were different than males, with women often making numerous small trips as part of a longer journey but this was not well catered for in ticket prices.

Other barriers to women using public transport were quality lighting and visibility at all stages of their journey. The presentation said an audit of stops and stations was taking place to ensure maintenance was being carried out and places were well lit.

According to figures for the board, one in three men would not use a bus, train or Luas after dark or late. That number, however, was much higher at 55pc among females.

A third of women had also reported not going out because of “feelings of insecurity” when using public transport.

An NTA spokesman said the presentation was given in the context of publication of last year’s report, ‘Travelling in a Woman’s Shoes’.

He said many findings were being worked on.


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