Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3728 ..
in 2019 titled Making ACT Bus Stops Work for Women, which included 144 survey responses on 77 bus stops. The Women’s Centre for Health Matters also worked with committed and creative public servants in the active travel team at TCCS on activities to encourage women to get into cycling in 2018-19.
This piece of work also builds on ACT Greens’ work in 2020 to map all of the ACT’s existing cycling infrastructure and then collaborate with community members and with Pedal Power on what gaps need to be prioritised within the network. That work talked a bit about dedicated cycleways that are separated from cars, end-of-trip facilities and bike lockers near Rapid bus route stops and light rail, which would make a big difference to people’s ability to use public transport and active travel in combination.
I also really appreciated hearing Ms Clay’s personal reflections on making choices between car use and active travel. I know what she is talking about; my family got its second car when I was pregnant so that I could avoid having to walk six to eight kilometres a day to use buses to get to a workplace that was just not on an easy-to-access bus route. These life-change points are opportunities to reassess transport options, and programs that are aimed at encouraging women to use active travel or public transport can really target these life-change points with constructive and helpful information on their options.
I would like to reinforce some of the points that Ms Clay was making about women experiencing barriers to using active travel and public transport. Those caring responsibilities have a very real impact, and that is how we end up with women doing so much more trip-chaining than men. Women often travel the same distance as men, but they make 13 per cent more trips per day than men. That comes from a summary of context analysis, data, community feedback and gender analysis published by the Office of Women in 2019.
Single women with kids, who are most concentrated in the outer suburbs where housing is cheaper but where bus timetables and cycle paths might be less convenient for getting to a minimum-wage job in the city, are definitely going to have a more difficult time of it, so taking those things into account when planning bus timetables and bus routes, and when planning where to locate bike lockers and infrastructure, can really help people.
Women with disability or chronic health conditions are going to benefit from having more access to separated cycleways, better footpaths and shared paths, and better lighting. Older women will also benefit from this. Mobility, accessibility and personal safety concerns are a big part of why we need to do so much work on age-friendly suburbs.
Women from diverse cultural backgrounds also have very real concerns about their personal safety because of the combination of abuse that they receive based on their cultural background and on gendered violence. In looking at what women are experiencing, the example that sticks in my head the most is from the Women’s Centre for Health Matters work on women’s perceptions of public safety. It was about a woman who had caught the bus home after dark and was followed from the bus stop down the path to her house by men who were shouting racist and sexist abuse at her.