Should men be able to use TTC Request Stops?
Unless you've got two X chromosomes, you still won't be able to use the Request Stop Program anytime soon, says the TTC. Of course, before we start crying sexism, it might be useful to note that this restriction is in writing only. In practice, men can still request a "stop between stops" at anytime.
The Request Stop Program has been around--informally--since the 80s, says TTC Communications Advisor Kevin Carrington.
The service allows women who are travelling at night to exit the bus from an unscheduled stop. According to the TTC service notes, the program began in Scarborough and was extended to include the rest of Toronto in 1991.
The policy has always been aimed at women, but anyone can be accommodated at the bus driver's discretion, Carrington says.
"I live in York and I've personally been accommodated by the program."
For some concerned Torontonians, this still isn't good enough. Stop between stops should be enforced for all genders, says victim's advocate Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo. She speculates that the program could have even altered the outcome for Shane Williams (19), who was shot dead on March 2nd after exiting the bus near Dundas St. W and Scarlett Rd.
"Shane was dropped at a bus stop that was not well lit. It would have changed his situation if they were bright white lights or in front of a store."
Despite the fact that both men and women can be targets of violence, the policy still only covers females travelling at night.
Omololu-Olunloyo says she might lobby the TTC to change these rules to include men in the future. "Every gender must reach their destination safely even if it means dropping them in front of their house," she says.
Even though the program is marketed for women users, men should still ask for a stop between stops if they feel their safety is at risk, asserts Carrington. "If someone were to ask an operator for a stop at night, I could not see him or her saying no," he says.
"We just want to make sure the bus is safe and enjoyable to travel on."
The Request Stop Program is currently available between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. to any female TTC bus passengers. The service is not available on streetcars.
Writing by Tess Hotchkiss.
Photo by thericyip in the blogTO Flickr pool.
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