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Monday, November 28, 2005

Women only subway carriages

Should women only carriages be "re-introduced" on the London Underground?

What do you mean - re-introduced? Surely there weren't women-only carriages on the London Underground? Well there were, and in case you are thinking this is an outdated Victorian idea, women-only carriages continued until the 1960's on some suburban rail lines.

John left a comment on my "Womens's Tube Tips leaflet pulled for being sexist" post, saying "At least LU hasn't felt the need to add women-only carriages on trains (unlike Japan that does have them on an increasing number of routes now)"

Excellent pictures from the Tokyotimes blog below:

Women only carriages in Tokyo 2005 - From Toykotimes' blog


Women only carriages in Tokyo 2005 - From Toykotimes' blog


I managed to find a picture I had taken of the women-only carriages on the Metropolitan Line, from a visit to the London Transport Museum a few years ago:

Ladies Only Carriage on the Metropolitan Line


Also as recently as November 2002, people were talking about their re-introduction - see The Evening Standard:

"Women-only Tube carriages were proposed today as the best way to make late-night travel safer and cut fear of crime. But the suggestion was met with opposition from London Underground, which said the scheme could make matters worse rather than better......"

"The call came from Tory mayoral hopeful Nikki Page, who said the front carriage of each Underground train should be reserved for women after 10pm."

"But an LU spokesman said perverts might wait on station platforms late at night, knowing where a lone woman would be likely to alight. Rowdy gangs of male drunks could also be tempted to storm the all-women carriages, leading to fights.

"Under Mrs Page's plan, a guard could ride in the carriage to ensure safety. If that proved too expensive, a closed-circuit TV camera could be fitted and monitored by the driver. Private firms would be approached to sponsor the carriages to meet the extra costs. Mrs Page believes fashion and healthcare firms would be eager to provide sponsorship
(see recent post on the whole idea of corporate Tube sponsorship), allowing the carriages to be fitted out more comfortably than standard rolling stock."

I quite like the thoughts of the guy who writes the Tokyotimes who said this of Tokyo's current system "This proposition, despite making a lot of sense, could however open a huge can of worms, with all manner of people and social groups pushing for their own carriages. And in an attempt to get in first, I've already sent a request to Japan Railways for a "British blokes in their 30s carriage".

Any more thoughts on this whole idea of women-only carriages on the Tube.....?


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