Our national bus strategy has asked local transport authorities to consider the impact of roadside infrastructure on passenger safety and security.
After the tragedies in Plymouth, people, especially women and girls, must feel safe while waiting for a bus, so does the Minister agree that before Conservative-run Plymouth City Council cuts 211 bus shelters—a third of all Plymouth’s bus shelters—it must stop and seriously consider the impact that will have on the safety of people waiting for a bus?
We take safety, particularly of women and girls, very seriously and I realise the difficulties that have been faced in Plymouth. The hon. Gentleman will know that we recently commissioned our safety champions to work with stakeholders and they have now provided 13 recommendations which will specifically look at how we can protect women and girls on the transport network. I would welcome further consideration on the importance of bus shelters in use and also the illumination of those shelters as an important factor in protecting women and girls.
Bus safety is important, but so is train safety. Has the Department had any more thoughts about placing a simple sticker on the back of each train seat advertising the British Transport police text number so that passengers can summon help if required and also asking people to refrain from using bad language? I think the Minister will agree that this also fits nicely with the criteria for the Great British Railways headquarters competition in that Doncaster’s champion MP not only did his apprenticeship on the railway but also helped to secure a more pleasant trip for all future rail passengers.
I am most impressed by my hon. Friend’s doughty campaigning in wanting to headquarter Great British Railways in Doncaster. Of course I agree that antisocial behaviour on public transport is a blight; however, I suspect that there might be unintended consequences from some on-train requests, such as encouraging more swearing and passenger confrontations, but I agree that we should look at doing more in this area and a solution using positive messaging to promote considerate behaviour could be an option.
Does the Minister remember that two years ago a car ploughed into a bus stop in my Huddersfield constituency, killing a young girl and badly injuring two other people? That driver has never been found guilty of anything. He put forward a plea of automatism—that he was not actually in charge—and a clever lawyer got him off. What sort of justice is that?
I am sorry to be reminded of that case. We are currently looking at how the justice system works for all drivers and I am happy to write to the hon. Gentleman with an update on that piece of work.