The project is ‘Gender+ Bus: tackling sexual harassment and violence against women for a gender inclusive bus service in Wales and the UK’.
The study will examine the different practices and policies used to tackle sexual harassment, harassment, and violence against women (and other passengers) by various stakeholders. It will consider perceptions and barriers in improving safety for women using and accessing buses. The study will also assess which interventions are a priority, most relevant and practical.
We want to better understand operator needs and what the risks are for drivers in intervening in incidents of harassment, how to manage incidents and support passengers. We want to explore how we can develop collaborations and improve support from key stakeholders like the police and local councils with the aim of increasing confidence to both staff and passengers. We are seeking to contribute to a transport network in which bus operators and staff receive a similar level of support as those working in rail (and in some cases taxis where drivers and passengers are supported by police on the street).
The study will contribute to planning steps that can be taken to ensure everyone has equal access to public transport and that all people can be confident that all parts of their journey will be safe and free of any kind of violence, including harassment. With Wales’s leading gender equality charity Chwarae Teg we are developing a training programme, piloted next year, specifically to help drivers to recognise incidents and respond to them while managing risk and to provide immediate support to women, signposting women to reporting mechanisms and expert support organisations.
The need for this research and future intervention is acknowledged across the sector. For example, Scott Pearson, Managing Director of Newport Transport, comments:
“As a public transport operator Newport Transport is proud to be involved with this research challenging current practices to find enhanced solutions that can be taken forward, to provide our customers and staff with additional confidence that we take their safety very seriously with key applicable interventions around harassment against woman on public transport, thus demonstrating to perpetrators that it is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. It is only by talking about these issues that we can find solutions and this research challenges thinking, as we can always do better.”
Sonya Byers, CEO from Women in Transport and co-Chair of its Diversity and Inclusion Bus Group said:
“Our members tell us they want to feel safe, both as transport workers and as users of the network. We have committed to working with industry, parliamentarians and government to ensure women’s safety as public transport customers and workers is a top priority. It is a key pillar within our President’s strategy and a core focus for our Women in Transport D&I Bus Group. Data and research is vitally important to understand how we can make a practical and measurable difference as a whole industry to create a more inclusive bus network – something that matters to everyone – not just women.”
If you are a managing director, deputy/assistant director, CEO, head or chief of operations, senior manager, head of recruitment, or holding a similar role in a bus company providing public services, the THINK research team invites you to participate in our online survey, or an interview with a researcher.
You can find out more about the project here.
To complete a survey please follow this link: https://aber.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/gender-bus-wales-operator-survey (before 28th April 2023) where you will receive further information before deciding to begin the online survey.
You may participate through both interview and survey if you wish, but please provide only one survey response per company, more than one member of staff can partake in an interview.
If you would be willing to participate in an interview with a researcher, please contact the project lead, Lucy Baker, using the below details to express your interest. Further information will then be provided. The interview can be arranged at an appropriate time at your convenience either online or in-person.
Please contact THINK researcher Dr Lucy Baker to get involved or if you have any questions regarding our research (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for taking the time to consider your involvement in this project.
(This research is supported by both The Waterloo Foundation and Public Health and Care Research Wales through the THINK project at Aberystwyth University)