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TfGM staff speaking to members of the public at a white ribbon event

We are working hard to make sure everyone feels safe using the transport network.

Greater Manchester is home to over 1.4 million women and girls. We know how important a safe, reliable transport network is to support women to achieve gender equality – getting them to work, education, training, healthcare, childcare and leisure.

In our 2022 ‘Destination: Bee Network’ engagement, 57% of women said that they feel unsafe on our streets and public transport. That needs to change.

In November 2022, TfGM became an accredited White Ribbon organisation, supporting the UK’s leading charity as they encourage men and boys to bring an end to gender-based violence against women and girls.

Our work with White Ribbon supports Greater Manchester’s wider gender-based violence strategy to help make our city-region one of the best places in the world for people to grow up, get on and grow old.

Making public transport safer for all women and girls is a key part of delivering Greater Manchester’s Bee Network – a joined up transport, cycling and walking network that will work for everyone.

Gender-based violence can affect anyone. But we know that it affects women and girls disproportionately and is predominantly committed by men on women.

We also include harassment and violence directed at trans, gender-queer and non-binary people who are attacked for not conforming to gender norms as forms of gender-based violence.

What we're doing

We’re already working hard to make the transport network safe for everyone:

  • We’re improving lighting and CCTV coverage at hotspots across the network and the TfGM control room team monitors the transport network 24/7 in real time.
  • TravelSafe staff, including the Greater Manchester Police dedicated Transport Unit, patrol the transport network and take part in dedicated, intelligence-led operations using resources such as behavioural detection, knife-arches, sniffer dogs and drones.
  • We’re making it easier to access GMP’s online LiveChat on public transport, so people can discreetly report an incident (and chat with) the same police call handlers that pick up the emergency calls without making a phone call.
  • We’re also working in the community, with schools and colleges and with children and young people to tackle antisocial behaviour and promote good behaviours on public transport.

What’s next?

Between November 2022 and February 2023, we held a series of “Safer Transport Network” workshops, where we heard from a diverse range of women, men, LGBTQ+ people, and disabled people about their experiences of safety when travelling on the transport network in Greater Manchester.

To improve the safety of everyone, especially women and girls, on the network, you told us you want to see more:

  • Communications that help raise awareness of unacceptable behaviours, available reporting mechanisms and how to be an active bystander (you can find our active bystander guidance here)
  • Increased awareness from front line colleagues of how to support women and girls on the network
  • Engaging children and young people so they have a stronger understanding of gender-based violence

As a result of your feedback, we’re committing to:

  • Improving our communications around safety and reporting.
  • Working with GM partners to ensure a joined-up approach to tackling gender-based violence in GM’s transport network, this includes working in partnership with Freedom Personal Safety to delivery Bystander Intervention training and committing to the standards outlined in Manchester City Council’s Women’s Night-time Safety Charter.
  • Embedding an awareness of White Ribbon in our work with the community, schools and colleges and with children and young people.
  • Reviewing our internal policies and procedures to ensure our position on gender-based violence is represented.

What can you do?

We want to enable everyone – particularly men and boys – to create an environment that encourages feelings of safety among women and girls on public transport and in our streets.

Here’s some advice on what you can do:

If you spot something that’s wrong, report it.

  • If you are in immediate danger, or see someone who is, please contact the police on either 999 or through LiveChat if you are unable to make a call.
  • LiveChat is the best way to report an incident, it is worth bookmarking the page on your mobile device.
  • You can also report incidents through to Greater Manchester Police online:

Useful information to include in a report: 

What happened:  What was the offender doing and what did they look like? (their appearance, clothing etc.). Similarly, describe what you look like and what you were wearing. This can make it easier for police to find the offender when they look through the CCTV footage. 

Where it happened:  What type of transport were you on and what station or stop were you at or near. Include the direction you were travelling in and, if you can, the station or stop the offender got on and got off the service at. 

When it happened:  What time you boarded the type of public transport you were on. Also, include if you saw the offender get on or off and at what time the incident occurred. 

It’s important we look out for our fellow passengers and speak up if we see sexual harassment, so that we hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. ️The following actions can help you intervene in a safe way to help someone:

Make a distraction    

You can help diffuse an incident of sexual harassment by asking the person targeted a question, such as “what’s the next stop?”, or “do you have the time?”.   

Make a note   

Make a note of what is happening, where you are (what line, station, stop, bus number or tram/train carriage number), what time it is, what the perpetrator looks like, what they’re wearing and any other important details. Reporting what you witness helps with the investigation and can stop it happening to someone else.  

Make sure they are okay   

Following an incident of sexual harassment or violence, the support of a fellow customer can help the person targeted feel less isolated and more confident in reporting it. Check in with the person targeted and ask “are you ok?”, or let them know that “what happened isn’t ok”. You can also speak to a member of staff for help. 

Men and boys can take small steps that make women and girls feel safer. This is particularly the case at times of day, or in areas, where they feel vulnerable – such as travelling on an empty bus, tram or train late at night.

Sitting right next to or near a woman or girl on a largely empty vehicle may make them feel intimidated or nervous. Similarly, walking directly behind a women or girl on the street can cause unnecessary worry.

Where appropriate, keeping your distance is something all men and boys can do to help women and girls feel safe.

Profile of Greater Manchester's Transport Commissioner, Vernon Everitt

Our commitment

Statement from Vernon Everitt, Transport Commissioner for Greater Manchester:

“We know women and girls feel much less safe on public transport and on our streets, and that needs to change. It is down to all of us – but particularly men and boys – to do something about this. 

"The Bee Network is our plan for a truly inclusive and joined up public transport system, and the safety of women and girls is of paramount importance.

"I’m proud that TfGM has become a White Ribbon accredited organisation. Together with our partners across Greater Manchester, we’re working to tackle inequality, gender-based violence and crime and antisocial behaviour in our region.

"We’re listening to you: we’ve heard your experiences and ways in which you think we can take practical steps to make sure all women and girls are, and feel, safer on public transport.

"There are already initiatives addressing safety concerns: tackling antisocial behaviour, providing LiveChat to enable women and girls to report their concerns and call for police support discreetly, and high-profile policing through Operation Avro is clamping down on crime.

"But there’s more to do to help everyone feel safe at every stage of the journey. Part of that will be changing culture, and raising awareness: working with men and boys to encourage them to be allies and help end violence against women and girls.

"Working together we can help make our transport network safer and our city-region one of the best places in the world for anyone to grow up, get on and grow old."