Taxi drivers

Plymouth needs more female taxi drivers to help women feel safe

Women and girls in Plymouth have called for more street lighting and more female taxi drivers to help them feel safe in the city. The Violence Against Women and Girls survey found that only 13% of respondents felt very or somewhat safe going out after dark.

More than three-quarters (78%) felt very or somewhat in danger. A total of 79% of respondents said they avoided taking certain streets or going to certain streets/areas when walking around the city.

Investigation Appeals were made to increase CCTV and provide better lighting in and around Plymouth to improve security. But the survey also indicates that there is currently a shortage of taxi drivers in the evening, which has exacerbated the problem.

Learn more – Groundbreaking commission proposes plans to make Plymouth safer for women and girls

The report, published in late May, added: “Young women also said they felt less safe with male taxi drivers, and too often there were no female taxi drivers available. In terms of safety at night, it is often impossible to book a taxi home. Public transport is also unreliable.

The young girls also shared that they don’t feel safe in the dark, let alone since the tragic events of last year. Some of the young women interviewed said they never walked alone in the dark. Concerns have also been raised about feeling safe at bus stops and walking between venues and bus stops in the dark.

The report states that 84% of respondents indicated that “improved/increased street lighting” would help women and girls feel safer and 71% of respondents indicated that “the increased CCTV” would help women and girls feel safer in the city.

“Better lighting around bus areas and pathways to and from late-opening stores to bus areas is needed,” one response said. “Please can you improve the street lighting…I also feel vulnerable because the street lighting is so dim you can’t see people approaching you and passing cars no more,” added another.

The survey also asked respondents to indicate where they felt unsafe in the city. It showed that some parts of the city clearly felt less safe for respondents than others.

Downtown was cited most often as a place where respondents felt unsafe, but respondents often mentioned feeling unsafe in city parks. It was pointed out that inside Central Park, there are currently no adequately lit roads from one side of the park to the other.

The young girls shared that they don’t feel safe in the dark, let alone since the tragic events of last year. Some of the young women interviewed said they never walked alone in the dark.

The Commission heard that a night bus was piloted in 2021, but due to the Covid pandemic the trial was not as successful as it might have been in another moment. The report says buses can be a safe space for women and there is a need to maximize this potential, so there was some merit in exploring another pilot project.

Since the report was published, it has been confirmed that the Plymouth Safe Bus scheme will be extended for another year. The service will continue to be based outside the Theater Royal but will now be available every Saturday evening between 10pm and 4am as well as other busy evenings in the city centre.

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