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New transport network raises safety concerns for women at bus stops

Lachlan Roberts 2 September 2019 46
bus stop

It seems that fewer women are taking the bus since the new bus network was introduced. File photo.

Mum of two Sandra Wiens said the reason she stopped taking the bus was due to her feeling unsafe walking to and from the bus stop, and Women’s Centre for Health Matters said she is not the only woman who feels this way.

Under the new public transport network, Ms Weins’ usual bus stop along her street in Bruce was removed from the network in exchange for Rapid Route Four. To get to the stop, Ms Wiens is required to walk through a dimly lit park.

“It used to be a quick and easy walk to go to the bus stop,” she shared with Region Media. “With the change in the network, my bus route was taken out altogether so now I need to head to a Rapid bus stop, which is a much longer walk that takes me through a park which is quite dark.

“As a woman, I would not go there at night. I once took my kids to the stop during dusk and they said ‘mummy, this is scary’. It was quite scary because it is dark, you are alone, there is no line of sight in the park. It might be fine during the day, but at night it is not.

“It is no longer convenient and it is no longer a safe route that I could take before.”

Ms Wiens said she no longer takes the bus and will now drive her car to and from work, one of many women making the decision to hop off the network.

Women’s Centre for Health Matters CEO Marcia Williams said the centre kept hearing from individual women about how the new bus network had affected them, so they decided to conduct a survey to find out how the changes have affected women and their sense of security.

“We started to realise that this isn’t just a few women and that this is more widespread,” Ms Williams shared. “So we launched the survey to see how many women didn’t feel safe and to see if there are particular stops or if it is across Canberra.

“Quite a few women are telling us that they aren’t catching buses anymore because they don’t feel safe at and walking to their bus stop. It’s not the bus itself or the change in route, its the bus stop and having to navigate from that new bus stop to home.”

Ms Williams said there are several public transport stops that have been raised as a concern by a number of women, including the Philip Avenue light rail stop.

“We know that a woman’s perception of safety will stop them from using places or spaces,” she said. “For women, it’s about the perception of safety, so even though the bus stop seems safe to Transport Canberra, women will not use it if they don’t feel safe.

“Once the survey is finished, we will be able to map if there are particular bus stops and what the issues are.”

To fill out the survey before it closes on 14 September, click here.

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46 Responses to
New transport network raises safety concerns for women at bus stops
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Narcobear 8:27 pm 04 Sep 19

has OP not heard of a battery operated torch? solves the darkness problem.
reality check – we live n one of the safest countries in the world

    madelini 11:35 am 06 Sep 19

    Living in one of the safest countries in the world didn’t save Eurydice Dixon. It didn’t prevent my car from being broken into while I was at dinner in Canberra. It didn’t stop my friends from being robbed while they were going for a walk at dusk in Tuggeranong. We don’t live in a crime-free society.

    Also, the discourse around women and safety is mostly that women need to be aware of their surroundings and avoid becoming a target. It’s not fair to call her irrational for heeding that advice.

maxblues 1:43 am 04 Sep 19

Safety has been sacrificed.

7:25 pm 03 Sep 19

The new timetable is ridiculously inept

8:29 am 03 Sep 19

My Diabetic son has no bus to school anymore and the other day had a low on the way to school we had to find him and fast it’s a night mare

I have to drive my car to work as I have no bus to Woden anymore

8:15 am 03 Sep 19

Worse on the weekends when the bus doesn’t show up and you have to wait an extra hour

2:39 am 03 Sep 19

I am having to either catch 6 Buses 2 trams to get my special needs son to his weekly Dr Apt. At the Canberra HOSPITAL and return. It adds over an extra hr plus to travel. It's a nightmare.

bj_ACT 1:50 pm 02 Sep 19

Anyone get the feeling that the government didn’t think through the broader implications of removing over 700 bus stops across Canberra?

1:44 pm 02 Sep 19

Build bus shelters ????

12:52 pm 02 Sep 19

Want big sexy expensive pointless tram, get nothing else. But I bet you'll keep voting for the incompetent labor govt.

12:20 pm 02 Sep 19

I wonder if a male said he felt unsafe if it would get the same attention..?

    6:27 am 03 Sep 19

    Jason Presti if you feel unsafe you should say when and where. Anyway I'd like to know the last time a man was raped and killed by a woman in an open public area. All of us should feel safe.

    8:17 am 03 Sep 19

    So highlighting that women feel unsafe takes away from you in what way?

12:03 pm 02 Sep 19

The survey only allows answers that respond to feeling unsafe.

11:29 am 02 Sep 19

Truncating bus times and changing bus routes to eliminate bus driver jobs is false economy. Social cost too high.

11:13 am 02 Sep 19

Not sure transport network is the issue here though

    11:27 am 02 Sep 19

    Nathan Lofthouse I think it's related to the decommissioned bus stops. With less bus stops, you walk further to your house at night.

    This would mean going through those unlit suburban alleys more frequently.

    11:29 am 02 Sep 19

    Exactly my point, women should feel safe everywhere, not just walking to a close by, well lit bus stop

11:07 am 02 Sep 19

This quote is taken directly from the Governments Women's Plan.

"There is a requirement for all areas of Government to consider how to ensure women feel safe. In areas such as urban planning, PUBLIC TRANSPORT and institutions such as university campuses".

They only pretend to care.

11:03 am 02 Sep 19

Please erect some lights at the R2 route Fyshwick to Fraser stop after Chewings street and before Ross Smith

It's very dark and unsafe.

    3:52 pm 02 Sep 19

    Erica Rushton and the 1.7km walk home over Goodwin Hill.

    7:30 pm 04 Sep 19

    Yes this hub and spoke model has removed many routes that went from major interchanges via some suburbs. Now we have to wait much longer if we life outside the spoke area in another region. I’d rather be on a long bus ride via the suburbs than waiting longer out in the winter chill with smokers and loiterers. Bring back the Gungahlin-Crace-Belco bus route!!!

11:02 am 02 Sep 19

This seems to be a subset of the general lack of lighting on paths at the moment. A lot of the lights on pathways seem to have been out for ages, no matter how often you report them on fix my street, or are those sensor ones that go out before you are past them, so you go from light to dark and don't have time adjust.

    12:23 pm 02 Sep 19

    Tracy Houston that's actually by design

    12:39 pm 02 Sep 19

    LJ Tas Around me its a recent phenomenon, entire pathways and parks have gone dark in the past year or so, including the ones to the local shops. This is out in Tuggers.

    5:35 am 03 Sep 19

    Tracy Houston yes & tree branches cover the street lights also

    5:43 pm 04 Sep 19

    Tracy Houston they're not sensor lights. The lamps that turn on and off periodically are broken (the repeated on /off cycle is the failure mode of Sodium-vapour discharge lamps.

10:57 am 02 Sep 19

ACT election is next year

10:43 am 02 Sep 19

Wow .. luckily for me, I'm a man. So I always feel safe everywhere and nobody ever attacks men.


    11:41 am 02 Sep 19

    Simon Bance I was thinking that Simon, men are just as much at risk these days.

    11:58 am 02 Sep 19

    TrishnBill Palmer Actually, violent crimes in general are more likely against men by a reasonable amount.

    But hey what do i know, I'm just an evil man myself. Insert smirk here.

    12:16 pm 02 Sep 19

    Or when you had to walk home in the dark from school in the 80's/90's on a much worse timetable than now.. ah but we didnt have social media to whinge to, but we could run.

    3:58 pm 02 Sep 19

    Justin Sevi But there was actually more Bus services back then, There are less Bus services now than there used to be 20 plus years ago. Also there were School bus services for all schools to get you home and you finished school between 3 and 4pm.

10:39 am 02 Sep 19

Doesn't matter how many surveys you take and how much you voice concern, they won't do anything about it sadly. There were MANY MANY people who told them about all the changes that were terrible and HOW they were terrible and they put them in anyways, and even though there have been TONS of complaints, they haven't done anything but take even more away (weekends anyone?). But it's ok because according to them, we're better connected.

    10:54 am 02 Sep 19

    totally agree with you. And they said the new network is for weekend better and now, from 22 of September they will back to previous weekend timetable. So, nothing valuable of the new timetable.

    10:56 am 02 Sep 19

    Jen Roberts they haven't done anything in a long long time. ACT election is next year

    12:12 pm 02 Sep 19

    Jen Roberts time to vote them out especially the tin eared dictator

10:34 am 02 Sep 19

Yes. The current time table is very customer unfriendly

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