Last year, the Flemish public transport company De Lijn received 135 reports of sexually transgressive behavior on vehicles or at stops. That is 45 more than the 90 reports in 2021, an increase thus of 50%. This is according to figures requested by Flemish MP Katrien Schryvers (CD&V).
Most of the 135 reports (78) were related to cross-border behavior on De Lijn vehicles. The increase in the number of reports of undesirable situations at stops is striking. There it more than doubled from 18 reports in 2021 to 44 in 2022.
The majority of the reported acts took place between passengers. In six cases, De Lijn staff were involved. Twice it involved a driver, twice a controller, and twice other staff. In Flemish Brabant, Antwerp, and Limburg, 83 reports were received. In East and West Flanders, there were 52 reports.
Report in app
According to Flemish MP Schryvers, the figures seem to show a greater willingness to report cross-border behavior. Although, according to her, the number of unwitnessed situations on public transport remains “probably quite a bit higher.”
Victims most often go to the police (78 reports) rather than to the De Lijn staff. But Schryvers wants passengers to be able to report cross-border behavior directly in De Lijn’s app rather than through a form.
She believes this could lower the threshold. “Both victims and bystanders should not experience a barrier to reporting sexual harassment. Sexual cross-border behavior can have a big impact on victims. Therefore, we must do everything possible to stop the phenomenon,” Schryvers concludes.
According to De Morgen, there are also cameras on 80% of buses and trams. In April, there will be another courtesy campaign. Incidentally, the number of fare-dodgers has also risen sharply in recent years, although the checks have fallen by almost a third. While 35 131 official reports were issued in 2018, 53 195 travelers were caught in 2022, an increase of 51,4%.
About 3,5 million people, pre-corona figures, use De Lijn’s services one or more times a year. In general, travelers were less satisfied last year due to the punctuality of buses and trams and the prices charged.
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