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The ‘pink tax’: Women spend more on NYC transit for safety reasons

We’ve heard about the pink tax (gender-based price discrimination) on tampons, razors and deodorant. It could be having an effect on transportation too.

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Women in New York City spend between $26 (£20) and $50 (£38) extra per month on transit for safety reasons. This is according to new research from New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation.

 

Of the 547 respondents, 75 per cent of women said they had experienced some form of harassment or theft while using public transportation in the City of New York, compared to 47 per cent of men. Approximately 86 per cent of harassment incidents occurred on the subway system and most were during rush hour.

 

Behaviour shifts

 

More than half (54 per cent) of women said they are concerned about being harassed while using public transportation, compared to only 20 per cent of men. With this in mind, 29 per cent of women said they don’t take public transportation late at night as a result of a perceived safety threat. In comparison, only three per cent of men said the same.

 

For late night travel, most female respondents said they feel safest using for-hire vehicles, such as Uber or Lyft (42 per cent), followed by taxis (16 per cent) and then public transportation (15 per cent).

 

The research concludes: “These real and perceived threats have a notable impact on transit users’ opinions of safety on public transportation.”

 

Caregivers’ tax

 

The researchers also estimate that female caregivers in New York City can spend an extra $100 a month on top of regular travel expenses on taking children or elderly relatives to appointments, etc. In the US, women make up 75 per cent of caregivers

 

Fixing it

 

The researchers highlight the importance of safety to ensure women can fully participate in the economy and travel to jobs etc. They call for further research into technological tools which could help, including public transportation monitoring and reporting solutions.

 

Further, the report states that including women in transportation design is important: “Women should lead transit station and safety systems to build in safety from the start," it notes.

 

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