Safety at bus stops and on buses
As a regular rider, I’ve seen my fair share of bad behaviour – pushing, shouting, fighting, leering … An eighteen-year-old guest in our house was harassed on a #12 bus two summers ago. Personally I’ve gotten off buses because the situation wasn’t safe, I’ve reported problems to the drivers, and a few weeks ago I had to text a friend to call the police because of a fight in the back of a dangerously overcrowded bus.
I now know that the OC Transpo number to call for help is 613-741-2478
Hollaback Ottawa has been working with OC Transpo to reduce the risks and OC Transpo has signs up telling riders to inform the bus driver if they feel unsafe.
CBC is reporting that a rider complained that a male passenger was harassing women on a bus and the bus driver failed to respond appropriately. According to the article, he initially told the rider that it “wasn’t his job to babysit.” When she persisted, he pulled over and called security, but announced to other passengers that the delay was her fault.
This is worrisome in many ways. Everyone in Ottawa has the right to go about their day without worrying about harassment. People should be able to get from point A to B without being harassed, groped, or bothered.
OC Transpo has a role to play in making sure that riders feel safe while using public transit.
The Globe and Mail recently posted an article noting that data on incidents ranging from harassment to serious sexual assault are often not tracked or end up being mis-categorized. It's tough to fix a problem if you don't know what is going on.
What steps do you think OC Transpo (and the city) should take to reduce harassment?