According to the Labour Party’s shadow fire minister, “there is some merit in having women only carriages in trains to reduce the number of sexual offences being made against women”.
While I have no objection to this in principle, as someone who has been commuting for just over thirty years, I would like to know how many carriages per train are we talking about?
Most trains of today vary in size, ranging from two, three, four, five, eight, ten or 12 coaches, with almost all having a designated first class area.
So, it stands to reason, that allocating more capacity for the use of one specific gender, is going to cause problems.
It would be impossible to allocate, let’s say, 20 per cent of every train for the sole use of women only passengers.
Would myself, and other men be okay with the prospect of standing up after a hard day at work, when the women only carriages might have spare capacity? I suppose one could always carry a wig, a bit of shocking red lipstick, and spare pair of size 11 stilettos with them, just in case they needed to mascaraed as a woman to guarantee themselves a seat on their train journey home.
However, in my case, my five o’clock shadow would soon give the game away.
I am old enough to remember trains when they had compartments, instead of the well lit open plan interiors that they have now, with most of the more modern trains also being equipped throughout with CCTV.
The old compartment style coaches have long since disappeared from the rail network, and rightly so.
There were 1,448 sexual offences reported by women on trains in 2016-17.
How many would that have been if we still had compartments on trains?
I am 6ft 2 inches tall, which means that during rush hour on The Tube, I tend to spend most of my time looking up at the ceiling for fear of being reported of making eye contact with someone of the fairer sex that might take offence to me gazing in their general direction.
I would also wager that alcohol was major factor in all these sexual offences on trains.
Perhaps the banning of alcohol on all forms of public transport, just like London’s Underground, would also go some way to cut down on the number of sexual offences being committed against women on trains.
Like most of the policies that the Labour Party have adopted in recent months, there is no devil in the detail”.
Just like their pledge to scrap the tuition fees for all former and present university students. A pledge, staying with the train analogy, which has now been shunted well and truly into the sidings.