Do we need women-only train carriages in Scotland? Debate on women’s safety on trains explained

Campaigners have suggested the move.
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Campaigners have suggested introducing women-only carriages on trains in Scotland after they become nationalised in April 2022.

The debate was sparked by new transport minister Jenny Gilruth last week, when she gave a statement on the future of the railway’s in Scotland.

The transport minister was able to touch on previous personal experiences of feeling unsafe on public transport, and spoke about trying to avoid trains back to Fife, where she said that it’s “just full of drunk men” and said that people would squeeze themselves next to her, despite being surrounded by a good amount of empty seats.

She continued, saying: “I want our railways to be safe places for women to travel. We need to identify as a government where it is that women feel unsafe on our public transport systems, and then identify on how we’re going to fix it”.

How will this be put into practice?

Across Scotland, Ms Gilruth will work with and consult with women’s organisations and women themselves, in a bid to find a suitable solution.

As this announcement sparked some debate, there’s some people who oppose it. In addition, an FIA foundation report concluded back in 2016 that gender separation “does not address the underlying issue that this is unacceptable behaviour” and that by introducing single sex carriages, confirms that “women should not be allowed to travel freely and need special attention”.

Before this, what is a believed to be just an idea becomes a reality, a consultation is expected to be launched.

How would it work?

Introducing this change, according to Mick Hogg, would be a “logistical nightmare” he said when speaking to BBC Scotland.

He said that “the only way that would work would be if there was more train crew personnel and more of a presence of British Transport Police on the trains.

“As it stands now, it would not work, you have at best a driver and a guard on an average service, with six to eight carriages to look after”.

The Independent ran a headline back in August 20 saying that the idea of women-only carriages is “gravely insulting to both men and women” and that to introduce this, in response to sexual assault is to say that it is “inevitable”.

Women-only train carriages is already in practice in Japan since 2005, and has been running for 17 years.