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Sexual harassment against women: the world's most dangerous public transport systems

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A new report has identified the world's most dangerous public transport systems for sexual harassment against women, with a string of Latin American cities topping the list.

Polling company YouGov interviewed 6,555 women and gender experts in 16 cities across the globe between August and September this year.

Participants were asked six questions about their experiences of travelling alone at night on buses, trains or trams.

They were quizzed about the risk of being verbally harassed by men, the risk of being groped or physically harassed, their trust in whether other passengers would assist a woman being abused, their trust in authorities to investigate reports of sexual harassment or violence and the availability of safe public transport.

Colombia's capital Bogota, which has no train network but a transit system of red TransMilenio buses, was found to be the least safe place for women to travel in. Mexico City came next on the list, with 64% of women questioned reporting some type of physical harassment on public transport.

Lima, the capital of Peru, was third on the list, followed by New Delhi. There was global outrage in 2012 after a 23-year-old woman was gang-raped by six men on a bus in the Indian capital and later died from her injuries. The case became a symbol of the widespread mistreatment of women in the country and the government's inability to deal with crime, especially rape.

Bogota bus

Bogota apparently has the world's most dangerous transport system for women

Moscow was rated the worst European capital on the list, coming in ninth out of the group of 15. Women in the Russian capital said they had little confidence that authorities would report abuse.

There was also discontent among female commuters in Paris. Although the French city was fairly low down at eleventh place, women said they had little confidence that other passengers would step in to help someone in trouble.

London came 13th on the list of 16 cities, above Paris but below New York, Tokyo and Beijing.

A separate 2012 survey by YouGov found that 28% of women felt unsafe on public transport in London, compared with 15% of men. The poll was commissioned by End Violence Against Women Coalition, who called on the government to "make London the world's safest city for women". 

London tube

London ranked 13th on the list of 16 cities

New York ranked as the safest city for women to travel by public transport in this latest survey, which required at least 380 responses from each city polled.

Researchers attributed the relative safety of transport systems in America's most populous city to its widespread use of CCTV cameras, heavy police presence and communication points where concerned passengers can report abuse.

Polling could not be conducted in five other large capitals - Cairo, Dhaka, Kinshasa, Tehran and Baghdad - due to conflict or an inability by YouGov to guarantee the necessary online sample of women.

See the full list, starting with the worst ranked, below.

1. Bogota
2. Mexico City
3. Lima
4. New Delhi
5. Jakarta
6. Buenos Aires
7. Kuala Lumpur
8. Bangkok
9. Moscow
10. Manila
11. Paris
12. Seoul
13. London
14. Beijing
15. Tokyo
16. New York

Paris transport tube

The transport system in Paris came in 11th on the list

Photos: Rex Features and Getty Images

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