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Public Transport

Volume 163: debated on Monday 4 December 1989

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on the ratio of women to men who use public transport.

According to the 1985–86 national travel survey, women aged 16 and over made on average 38 per cent. more public transport journeys than men in that age group. They accounted for about 60 per cent. more bus journeys but 25 per cent. fewer rail journeys. In terms of passenger mileage, women generated 10 per cent. less public transport mileage per head than men, but were responsible for relatively more bus usage and less rail usage.

Though relatively few people die from this cause, such cases inevitably arouse particular horror. Over the years our research and action programmes to improve vehicle safety have included work on the features most likely to cause fires. Fuel cut offs are important and we have discussed this with manufacturers. We have also just sent them an analysis of electrical causes of fire and plan further work to protect against fuel leakage following rear impacts. We have made clear to vehicle manufacturers that we expect them to pay close attention to designs that reduce fire hazards.