Vulnerable women to get free bus travel at night, Police Commissioner promises
BUS firms have pledged that women who are alone at night and in danger will be able to travel free of charge.
Notts' Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said he was given the guarantee during talks about safety and transport.
He said he wanted to ensure there were no more incidents like the 2011 rape of a woman in Nottingham minutes after she got off a bus because she was 20p short of the fare.
Mr Tipping said he had met NCT, the city's biggest bus firm, and tram operator NET to talk about night-time safety. He had also spoken to Trent Barton, who employed the driver involved in the 2011 incident.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Mr Tipping said he was "really pleased" with the responses.
He said the companies had assured him that in certain situations people who were vulnerable to attack would be able to get home if they were short of the fare, or without any money.
Mr Tipping said: "They said it will not happen in future. In certain circumstances if someone hasn't got a fare, they will take them on.
"Without exception everyone recognised that the incident in 2011 had not been dealt with properly. They gave an undertaking to make sure this does not happen again.
"Bus companies just need to think they have a social responsibility to get people home in some circumstances.
"The tragic incident at The Forest Recreation Ground has woken everyone up."
The woman, in her early 20s, was attacked by Joseph Moran, 19, of Walker Street, Sneinton, in Mansfield Road after a night out in December, 2011.
Moments before, she had boarded a bus outside Boots, in Lower Parliament Street, but only had £4.80 to pay the £5 fare.
The unnamed driver, who worked for Trent Barton, would not waive the 20p and told her to get off.
Shortly afterwards Moran beat her unconscious and raped her behind bushes on The Forest Recreation Ground. He was jailed indefinitely for public protection in September last year.
Alex Hornby, commercial director for Trent Barton, said: "That incident [in 2011] was an extremely rare one and nothing like that in any shape or form has happened since.
"It's not just about training, it's about making sure we have the right people driving.
"It's about making sure we have people who do care about people, and thankfully the trend is more about drivers who do look after people – and sometimes our drivers lend customers their own money.
"If you see someone vulnerable you do all you can to help. It's not just about fare, it can be about making sure they are on the right bus."
NCT said the firm had a long-running policy that said drivers could waive fares. A spokesman added: "Drivers are empowered to allow customers to travel for free if they present themselves in need of travel and cannot pay the full fare."
A NET spokesman said trams had an open boarding system. "We have a policy to deal with people who may be vulnerable and our staff are trained to deal with situations on their merit," he said.
Holly Swinckels, of Nottingham Women's Aid, said: "We'd urge all women to plan to get home safely. That means do go out and have a few drinks and a good time, but think about how you are going to get home.
"That may mean having the right money for a taxi or bus.
"We'd urge all bus companies to be mindful of the risks to women travelling alone."
Taxi firms including DG Private Hire are involved in a scheme with the University of Nottingham Students' Union to ensure students get home even if they are stuck without cash.