Is Public Transportation Safe for Women?

Women are much more likely to suffer sexual harassment than their male counterparts. Also, because of their image as the so-called weaker sex, they are also more likely to be victims of robbery or violent crimes.

Personal safety can depend on a number of factors, not the least of which is location: where you live can determine how safe you are in public. In general, riding in a car is safer than taking the bus or riding the subway. The reason is simple: you are alone in a personal vehicle or sharing it with people you know and trust. Public transportation means being around many more people you do not know and, therefore, might not be trustworthy. While this may make some men uncomfortable, the threat is likely more tangible for a woman.

On top of that, there is the question of actually getting to the transportation in question. If a bus or subway stop is not near the place the woman is leaving, there is the potential of danger, particularly if she is alone and it is at night.

All of these points are unfortunate. In addition to the threat possibilities, that lack of safety can cause some women to restrict their travel. That can limit their possibilities for both personal and professional growth.

Various strategies have been tried to increase the safety of women using public transportation, including segregated travel options.  Another is to include more staff members on buses and subways to act as both a deterrent and a form of assistance that can respond to an incident faster than police.

One possibility that would seem highly effective is to design public transportation with the needs of women in mind. This approach has been adopted in several areas and received praise for increasing a woman’s safety under such circumstances. Having more women employed in transportation service professions can also provide benefits: they will be able to clearly point out areas they feel are lacking in safety.