Episode 66: Women Who Ride Transit
We’re joined by Scarlett De Leon, Campaigns Director at Alliance for Community Transit – Los Angeles and Meghna Khanna, Senior Director, Mobility Corridors, Countywide Planning & Development at Los Angeles Metro.
Unedited Transcript – Mpact Podcast Episode 66: Women Who Ride Transit
Safety is the biggest concern for women who ride transit. On this podcast, we hear from Scarlett De Leon with ACT-LA and Meghna Khanna with LA Metro – both transit riders themselves – about women’s concerns and how one transit agency is responding.
As De Leon explains, safety encompasses a range of things, from harassment to lighting to frequency of service. For a woman traveling alone, a longer than expected wait at an unlighted bus stop is threatening. Women also often travel with their kids or for a range of purposes, including appointments for other family members. Policies about strollers and about fares impact them directly – from the window for free transfers to costs for the kids who travel with them. The ACT-LA report, Metro as Sanctuary: Reimagining Safety on Public Transit, details the concerns of women and other riders and recommends that LA Metro shift funding to approach safety in ways that address root issues.
Khanna, from LA Metro, describes the ways that the agency has changed internal practices and made changes to service, station design, fares and staffing in response to their own research into women’s experience on transit. Even the research had to start with a different approach: disaggregating data and finding ways to reach loyal women riders, including women facing homelessness, women with disabilities and women with immigration status traveling with kids. Last fall the agency approved a Gender Action Plan which drew on a 2019 report, Understanding How Women Travel. Through all these efforts, LA Metro has been guided by a Women and Girls Governing Council, with a direct line to the office of the CEO of the agency.
Listen to the podcast to find out the specific changes LA Metro is making to serve women riders and the ways ACT-LA continues to bring women’s voices forward. You’ll also hear how much these women appreciate transit as a lifeline for themselves and their community.
Photo of women on a transit platform credit ACT-LA.
Scarlett De Leon, Campaigns Director, Alliance for Community Transit – Los Angeles (ACT-LA)
Meghna Khanna, Senior Director, Mobility Corridors, Countywide Planning & Development, Los Angeles Metro