Do You Feel Safe as a Woman Riding Mass Transit?

Do You Feel Safe as a Woman Riding Mass Transit?

Do you consider yourself safe when you ride mass transit? A recent article in The Atlantic indicates how women's safety in public transit may have more to do with financial access than the the hour a person waits for a ride home.

Image Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York, via Flickr

The article states that women who have easy access to finances are more inclined to take cabs late at night, while women who have less access are limited with their options. The limitations imposed by one's socio-economic status also affects how well women stay safe.

As I read the article of women describing the decision of whether to take the bus or train late at night, it reminded me of my days of being single and having to decide whether it was safer to go home by bus or subway after being out with friends in NYC.

I consider myself a "city girl" since I was raised in NY, but even someone like me who knew the ins and outs of public transit for years would get nervous when a guy would sit next to me instead of sitting somewhere else in a fairly empty subway car. Riding buses late at night may have been slightly safer, but waiting for the bus to come or walking from the stop had its own challenges.

Before I was financially able to have other options, I had to rely on being street-smart and rely on my instincts when it came to my safety. Nowadays, when I do venture into the city, I either drive in or take an earlier train home and have a car waiting for me at the train station. But for women who don't have the same choices, how can they make sure they stay safe?

In countries like Japan, Mexico and India, one of the ways they have addressed the safety of women who use mass transit is by creating gender-segregated subway cars. While I think that this is a good idea, it only addresses part of the problem. Gender-segregated cars work while women are in them, but it doesn't keep them from being harassed once they get off the train. It is unfortunate that a huge percentage of city-dwelling women who may not have the resources to choose how they can get home safely will have to rely on their street smarts or worse, hope that they don't become victims as a result of their circumstances. That's my view on this, what's yours?

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