A senior British politician is making a proposition for the Government to consider women-only train carriages to reduce the escalating sex crimes on public transport.
Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North, highlighted figures from the British Transport Police, showing 1,448 sexual offences on trains had been reported in 2016-17, compared with 650 incidents in 2012-13.
He told PoliticsHome that women-only carriages – which have been tested in countries including Japan, Brazil and Mexico – could create a “safe space”.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn once talked about a similar proposal in 2015 as concern for sexual harassment of women on public transport escalated.
Chris Williamson immediately faced backlash after suggesting the idea and seemed to back track, later telling the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show: “I’m not saying we should go down this road at all, I’m merely suggesting that we consult on it.
“If there is support for it, then providing an additional carriage to provide that safe space for people if they wanted it, offering that choice I think is worth looking at.”
He told the programme there was a “clear need” for better security and more guards to tackle the problem, but that gender-specific trains could be an “idea worth exploring”.
But he agreed there was a need to “push for behaviour change” so that “everybody can travel on public transport in complete safety”.
It is unknown if his suggestion or idea will even be considered since many politicians are likely to see women-only train carriages as sexist.
Labour’s former Transport Secretary Lord Adonis told BBC 5 live women-only train carriages were an “absolutely crazy idea” and women would find it “grossly insulting”.
“The idea that they would be herded into separate carriages when the point at issue is a very tiny number of men who don’t behave properly…
“And I doubt that many women would use them, so what you’d find is that the carriages would be empty.”
The Women’s Equality Party said it had not changed its opinion since the Labour leader first proposed women-only trains in 2015.