Beating the gropers
By Jano Gibson
Peak hour on Sydney's trains is a tight squeeze at the best of times.
But it is what to do about offensive squeezes of a different kind that confounds some commuters.
This week a Japanese train company introduced women-only rush-hour carriages after a growing rate of groping incidents.
The Saikyo Line between Saitama Prefecture and central Tokyo recorded 217 cases of men molesting women last year, according to the Mainichi Daily News.
Male and female Sydney commuters approached by smh.com.au today generally welcomed the idea of bringing the concept to the city's trains.
One commuter said her friend was asleep on a morning train from the Blue Mountains last week when she felt something strange touch her back.
"When she woke up she realised it was a man that was sitting next to her (and) had his hand ... starting to go down the back of her pants which was quite disgusting. So I think it's (women-only carriages) a good idea."
Another passenger said she and her friends had been flashed at by a man a few years ago.
But a male passenger said it wasn't only women who experienced problems on trains.
"I think there's even danger to men as well. I've been approached a number of times by some hooligans and stuff like that," he said.
Jim Donovan, spokesman for lobby group Action for Public Transport, said the fear of being groped kept some passengers away from trains.
"I'm sure the fear of molestation is one of the reasons why some people don't ride trains," Mr Donovan said.
"I think it (women-only carriages) would increase the number of passengers which would have to be a good idea. It would be rather radical in the Sydney environment. We've seen nothing like that before."
However the chairman of the NSW Commuter Council, Kevin Parish, warned that the concept could lead to capacity difficulties on trains.
" It would be unreasonable for people to be standing in some carriages while there are a lot of empty seats in other carriages," he said.
smh.com.au is awaiting a response from RailCorp.
What if a couple, say a husband and wife catch the same train... While I agree that groping isn't acceptable behaviour, I think that the 'single sex only carriages' are a bit extreme... I also get a little frustrated when people high up in decision making positions say "Well they just started something over here in xxx country, lets do that too."