The Greater Manchester Public Transport Safety Survey - The Results

Following on from last year’s Greater Manchester Commuters Survey, and the conclusion that many participants were dissatisfied with the city’s public transport network, we commissioned a survey to find out how safe the residents of Greater Manchester feel on public transport and whether this has been affected by poor service.

We received over 500 responses from passengers of Greater Manchester’s trains, trams and buses, with only 6% of respondents saying they always felt safe on public transport. Broken down by transport type, it was seen that buses are believed to be the most unsafe form of transport in Greater Manchester, according to 33% of participants, followed by trains (32%) and then trams (30%).


Why do people feel unsafe?


An overwhelming number of Greater Manchester’s residents claim that other passengers’ behaviour is responsible for making them feel unsafe on train, tram and bus services, with 81% finding drunken and rowdy behaviour disruptive and 58% witnessing abusive or threatening behaviour while using public transport.

One commuter described how she no longer feels safe using the Metrolink after she and her boyfriend were “threatened by a large group of younger boys” for looking at them “funny”, while another tram passenger has stopped using the service after someone attempted to steal his phone, adding he also regularly witnessed teenagers smoking legal highs while travelling.
A bus passenger, who was assaulted while using the service, was left “psychologically distraught for a long time”, a feeling which was “made worse by the CCTV not being on at the time of the journey, leading to the attacker getting away with it”.

Other complaints included other passengers taking up more than one seat (44%), playing loud music (37%), smoking (36%) and using drugs (29%).

Passengers feel most unsafe at night



Asked ‘When do you feel the least safe from harm using public transport?’ 75% said they feel at risk of harm at night between 10pm and 7am, with the Metrolink seen as the least safe way to travel during this period according to 77% of its users. Catching a train past 10pm is seen as dangerous by 76% of users, while 75% of those who rely on buses find riding one at night to be hazardous.

On the flipside, the morning (7am - 12pm) is deemed the safest time of day to travel on public transport by 59% of participants, with 66% of tram passengers claiming that the Metrolink is the safest way to travel at this time. What’s more, 59% of bus users said buses are safe in the morning and 57% of rail users said morning train rides are harmless.


So what can be done to improve safety?


With 85% of participants in last year’s Greater Manchester Commuters Survey voicing a negative opinion towards public transport, and so many passengers saying they feel unsafe on trains, trams and buses, improvements need to be made to keep passengers from harm.

We asked the survey participants what needed to be done to make them feel safer; most suggested that police or another authoritative figure should patrol public transport, particularly at times known to be problematic, as 64% believed there is not adequate policing and emergency assistance on board.

Another suggestion called for drivers to take more responsibility for incidents that happen onboard vehicles, although, many suggested they are too busy focusing on driving and do not have sufficient back-up over the intercom/radio. Passenger vetting was also suggested, which would mean refusing drunken or rowdy passengers to board trains, trams or buses in the city centre.

Other suggestions for deterring bad behaviour included fully working CCTV and installing ticket barriers at tram and train stations, which will also reduce the amount of fare dodgers.

What do you think should be done to improve safety on Manchester’s transport system? Do you agree or disagree with any of the comments above? Let Yvette know your thoughts on Twitter.


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