Are Lone Females Safe on Public Transport?
In the wake of several high profile attacks on women travelling alone on public transport in India, it is not hard to question the sanity of any woman taking a taxi or travelling by bus late at night in a country like this. The trouble is, many women have no choice. They might be travelling in a strange city or country, or have no access to a car. They might not even be able to drive. So what can a woman do to stay safe on public transport?
Don't be a Victim
It is impossible to guarantee your safety when travelling alone on public transport, unless you have a personal bodyguard, but there are many things you can do to prevent yourself from becoming another victim.
In the UK, women are relatively safe. They can catch a taxi, jump on a night bus, or take the train home without being too concerned. There are sexual predators out there, but in most cases men are respectful of female passengers travelling on their own. In other countries, this is not necessarily the case. If you are travelling in India or any other country where females are viewed as second-class citizens, you need to be extra careful.
Always walk with confidence and avoid acting like a tourist. This will lessen the chance of men targeting you.
Travelling in a Taxi
You are always safer when using a licensed taxi as the driver has been vetted. If you need a taxi abroad, avoid jumping into a street cab and call for a taxi from your hostel or hotel instead.
Radio cabs are a lot less risky so use them. Be careful when catching a cab you have pre-ordered. Always ask the driver to confirm the name of the passenger he is there to collect. It is a good idea to check the name of his company also. If he gets either of these key pieces of information wrong, walk away.
Travelling by Train
Trains are usually OK, but sit next to another female, as this will reduce harassment from male passengers. If you need to take a sleeper train, pick a top bunk. Sleeping in a bottom bunk means you are more accessible to men passing by. In a top bunk, you are out of sight.
Travelling by Bus
Male predators often choose a seat next to a lone female sitting beside the window. For this reason, always sit close to the front of the bus at night, so the driver is within easy reach if you feel threatened by a passenger.
Being able to drive is a useful skill for any woman. When you have a driver’s licence you always have the option to travel by car, whether it is a hire car or your own. In the UK, learner drivers must pass the theory test before they can apply for a practical driving test. It consists of a series of multiple choice questions and a hazard perception test. Not everyone passes first time, but you can increase your chances of success by taking some practice tests at the Top Tests’ website.
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