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Paris rolls out 'on demand bus stops' in bid to fight sexual harassment

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Paris rolls out 'on demand bus stops' in bid to fight sexual harassment
Photo: Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz)/Wikicommons
14:58 CET+01:00
Paris authorities have announced new measures to tackle the scourge of sexual harassment and abuse on the city's public transport system.
 
And now President of the greater Paris region of Île-de- France and leader of the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France, Valerie Pecresse is determined to put a stop to it. 
 
From February the city will experiment a new measures which will allow people on certain buses the chance to hop off at night even when the vehicle isn't at a designated stop. 
 
The measure, which Pecresse said women had specifically asked her to introduce, will be tested on around ten lines in the greater Paris area and these stops may be requested "by women or men" to shorten the route between the bus stop and their home.
 
"The interest is to avoid these attacks that take place on the way home," she said, adding that she would like this system to eventually be rolled out across the network if "the experiment is conclusive" and "does not become systematically stressful for the driver".
 
On top of the hop-off experiment, 650 more staff members dressed in plain clothes will be hired to monitor safety on trains and buses.
 
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"We can not stand idly by while a woman is being attacked," said Pécresse. "We have created new positions because the human presence is insufficient."
 
The new measures will go hand in hand with the increasingly widespread use of video surveillance on the city's public transport system.
 
"By 2020, all carriages will be videotaped, including on trains that go to the furthest suburbs, because there are no second class citizens," she said. "This year, 100 percent of buses will have video protection."
 
Pécresse recently revealed that she herself had been a victim of harassment on public transport, saying that she had "slapped a man who tried to put his hand under her skirt."
 
She told the story shortly after a letter signed by 100 French women, including Catherine Deneuve and published in Le Monde said that they do not want women to feel "forever traumatised by a pervert on the subway, even if their actions are considered a crime."
 
The letter, which sparked a major backlash, went on to say "a woman could even consider it as the expression of great sexual misery or as a non-event."
 
 
'Half of French women' alter clothes to avoid harassment
Photo: Alexandre Moreau/Flickr
 
But this isn't the first time the Paris authorities have tried to crack down on the problem. 
 
In 2015, the French government launched a campaign with the tagline: "Stop - That's Enough!"  in an effort to stop sexual harassment on public transport.
 
The awareness campaign launched by the French government together with rail operator SNCF and Paris transport chiefs RATP included the handing out of flyers and a set of posters displayed in key places around the capital, encouraging victims and witnesses to speak out with confidence about sexual harassment.
 
However if the figures are anything to go, the campaign didn't seem to stick and authorities have a long road ahead to fix the issue. 
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