Thousands of Metro train and bus riders claimed in a survey released Thursday they were sexually harassed during their public transit trips.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority asked 22,604 riders in the spring of 2014 if they were victims of unwanted sexual behavior, including touching, exposure or inappropriate comments, during the past six months, with 22 percent — or about 4,900 people — responding “yes.”
There were about 450 million boardings on Metro transit in 2014, officials said.
In contrast to the survey results, Metro’s customer relations office and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department received 99 complaints in 2014. Of the complaints, 62 were for unwanted touching and 31 people reported indecent exposure. The complaints resulted in 20 arrests.
Metro riders who experience sexual harassment were urged to call the Sheriff’s Department at (888) 950-SAFE.
This is the second time Metro has asked its riders about sexual harassment. The first time, the survey was worded differently, asking riders if they “felt unsafe” due to sexual harassment during the past month, which yielded “yes” responses from 18 percent of those surveyed.
The latest survey changed the question so it did not ask about the rider’s sense of safety, only asking whether the rider experienced sexual harassment.
The sexual harassment question was part of a general customer satisfaction survey that has been conducted twice a year for the past 12 years. The latest survey found that 86 percent were “generally satisfied” by Metro’s service, 79 percent felt the bus or train arrived on time and 83 percent said they felt safe on the bus or train.
— City News Service