This International Women’s Day, it’s time to demand that the Department for Transport finally listens to passenger concerns about safety, security and access. We’ll be meeting at Great Minster House at midday on Friday 8th March to deliver an 85,000-strong petition to “Keep The Guard On The Train” and we hope that you can join us!
All are welcome, and we are particularly keen to celebrate the women who have done so much to defend against the government-driven attempt to remove guards from trains. Special guests will include; Beth Granter, who began the petition for women’s safety on the railways; Ann Bates OBE, who has campaigned alongside ABC for three years on disabled access; and Michelle Rodgers, the recently elected President of the RMT union and the first woman in its history to hold this position.
Sign up to our Facebook event here or RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Why International Women’s Day?
Over the past ten years, sexual offenses on the railways have gone up a staggering 167%, and violent crime has risen by 47%, according to recent figures from the British Transport Police (BTP). In the period 2017-2018, these categories of crime are up 16% and 26% respectively. In the case of sexual offenses, the BTP believes that there are many more crimes of this type that go unreported.
All vulnerable passengers deserve the peace of mind of knowing there will be a safety critical, guaranteed guard on every train, not to mention the deterrent factor in an era of rising crime. In rural areas, including Southern Rail, Northern Rail and South Western Railway, there are long gaps between stops and largely unstaffed stations – so the suggestion to destaff these networks should never have even been up for debate.
Despite this context – and a three-year long industrial dispute on the matter – passengers in England have never been consulted on the issue of driver only trains. During our campaign on the matter, we have dug up multiple documents emphasising concerns around safety and disabled access, but our concerns have been ignored. With the Equality and Human Rights Commission recently stating that they are likely to take action over the roll back of disabled access associated with DOO, we’ll be appealing directly to the DfT and the Williams Rail Review to return to the vision of a fully staffed railway, accessible to all.
2 thoughts on “International Women’s Day Protest – Keep The Guard On The Train!”
As a retired Guard with more than 17 years experience I was regularly informed by (mainly) female passengers that they preferred to travel by train because there was a Guard and that their presence made them feel much safer than travelling by bus. Their only concerns were when they arrived at an unstaffed station late at night especially if the lighting was out. If it was I would hold the train on the platform until they reached the road and when the train had left the platform I would report the lighting issue to control and complete a written report when I reached my home station. The point is simply : passengers feel (and are) much safer when their train has a Guard.
I use Wandsworth Town Station and, later in the evening, there are no station staff. I am glad that SW trains still have guards on the trains. I’m not sure that I would feel safe if they didn’t and might feel unable to use the train to get about in the evening.