California Public-Transit Agencies Confront Rider Harassment

  • Date: 04/16/2024

Public-transit agencies often hear complaints from riders about harassment. But system officials don’t always know what to do about it, since public transportation is not immune from the wider social problems that communities face. That’s especially true for large urban systems like San Francisco’s BART, which have had a big chunk of riders drop out of transit altogether in the work-from-home transition.

What they do know is that no system can afford to lose more passengers due to heightened fears. That pressure has forced California systems to get serious about combating street harassment.

California has taken a two-step approach to harassment. A 2022 law directed the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University (MTI) to create a survey to help public-transportation systems collect data on riders’ safety concerns. A second law passed last year requires the state’s ten largest public-transit agencies to collect data from passengers about harassment, and make the findings public by the end of 2024.

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