New bill seeks to have California’s transit agencies collect data on rider harassment

New bill seeks to have California’s transit agencies collect data on rider harassmentNew bill seeks to have California’s transit agencies collect data on rider harassment
via Corey Agopian (representational only)
A new bill in California aims to require the state’s 10 largest transit agencies to begin recording data on rider safety and street harassment.
The bill is a follow-up to Stop AAPI Hate-backed bills SB 1161 and AB 2448, which were signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September 2022 and became effective at the beginning of this year. 
The Public Rider Transportation Safety bill (SB 1161), authored by State Senator Dave Min (D-Costa Mesa), promotes safe ridership through a survey tool created to help transit agencies gather data on street harassment and how it affects transit riders. 
The newly introduced bill seeks to put the data collected by the survey into action. 
If the bill is signed into law, it could reportedly go into effect next year.
Min said he hopes that the state’s transit agencies, including in Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Sacramento, will ​​help find trends on where attacks typically happen and who is most likely to be targeted.

A lot of folks feel unsafe in public spaces generally, but on public transit particularly. We’ve heard so many reports of people being attacked, berated and it obviously hits vulnerable communities the most. Asian Americans get hit, seniors get hit, women get hit, LGBTQ people get hit.

Since March 2020, the Stop AAPI Hate national coalition has received over 11,000 reports of hate incidents and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the U.S. 
About half of the incidents reportedly took place at public venues, including transit.
According to Stop AAPI Hate co-founder Cynthia Choi, many elderly AAPIs do not feel safe while riding public transportation. 

There are parts of our community that can’t afford to have a private car, they are reliant on public transit to run their daily errands, to go to doctors appointments, so it’s critical, especially for the top 10 transit agencies, that they really understand the experiences of their riders. In order to create effective solutions, we really need to understand the experiences of people who are impacted from street harassment, and essentially that’s what this bill does, it gives transit riders a voice.

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