By Olindhi Jayasundere
The Transport Ministry today revealed that one in four women are subject to harassment when using the public transport each day in the country.
Deputy Minister of Transport, Rohana Dissanayake said that this data was found during research conducted recently. The Minister revealed that a large number of women are being subject to verbal and physical abuse in buses and trains each day. He said that this has contributed to the decline in the use of public transport by passengers in recent times.
The Minister said the issue needed to be addressed in order to ensure that women are afforded their basic rights and to ensure the public transport system does not spiral downwards.
“Steps have already been taken to introduce new programs and workshops next month for both Private and SLTB bus drivers and conductors to better educate them on the importance of providing better services for women without being subject to harassment and abuse in buses,” he said. Ministry sources said that such programs will also be introduced for railway services in the future.
Ministry sources said that if bus passengers are subject to harassment when using public transport they could make their complaints to 011 7555 555.
In 2009, 56,590,210 passengers traveled in private buses while 175,000 passengers used SLTB buses. These numbers are now declining, transport ministry sources said. “If we take action to provide better transport facilities for women they will not have any fear to use public transport” he said.