The Government is supporting safe transport with the extension of the £2 single-fare price cap for all bus journeys to the end of 2024. Taking a journey by bus is one of the least harmful and least dangerous means of travelling by road. PACTS report, ‘What kills most on the roads?’ highlights this in the context of collisions involving all means of road transport. An increasing number of local authorities are franchising bus services. In London, that means that bus safety is integrated into TfL’s strategy for achieving zero fatalities on their network by 2030.
However, PACTS vision of a safe transport system is wider than one where users are safe from injury resulting from a collision. We are working toward “A transport system… in which all users feel safe”. Often safety concerns relate to personal safety. In this guest article, Claire Walters, Chief Executive of Bus Users UK, explains how the campaign ‘Making public transport even safer’, produced by Bus Users UK and Women in Transport is aimed at improving safety for passengers.
“The 5-point action plan was designed to empower passengers to help reduce anti-social behaviour, particularly for the women and girls who make up the majority of bus users, taking a third more journeys than men.
Bus drivers are a key component in this, trained as they are to identify and deal with a whole range of issues, as well as providing support for passengers who may have a disability, cognitive impairment or mental health issue.
But there are other safety issues that can be a barrier to travel before someone even sets foot on a bus or coach. Access to bus stops can involve unlit roads without pavements, particularly in rural areas while in urban areas, passengers can face pavements blocked by badly parked cars, cycle paths and e-scooters. For many people these things are inconvenient but for someone with a buggy or luggage, a wheelchair user or a person with a sensory disability, they can be almost impossible to navigate safely. Even the stops themselves can be isolated, unsheltered or unlit.
One of the most effective ways to improve safety when travelling is to involve passengers in the design and delivery of services, vehicles and infrastructure. Given how diverse bus passengers are, this has to include people with a range of lived experiences as well as those who don’t currently travel by bus and coach.
This will not only improve safety and accessibility, it will make bus and coach travel more attractive to car users, reducing congestion and pollution, and improving our roads, towns and city centres for everyone.”
PACTS Rail Safety Working Party already includes a standing item in meetings on the topic of personal safety. The next meeting, in January, will follow the progress of recommendations made to tackle violence against women and girls in transport and hear from representatives for the police and DfT. If you would like to know more Join Us – PACTS.