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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 January 2007, 05:31 GMT
Drivers 'fear' public transport
A London bus
The DfT is working with the bus industry to combat crime
Most car drivers are worried about using public transport after dark, a survey suggests.

Of 1,787 drivers polled by insurers Swiftcover.com and the Centre of Business Economics and Research, 54% felt safer in their cars.

Among drivers aged between 19 and 25, this figure rose to 66%.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said that while one crime was one too many, crime levels on public transport were low given the number of journeys made.

Swiftcover.com chief executive Andrew Blowers said the survey showed people were frightened to use public transport and feared for their safety.

He said: "On one hand, the government plans to introduce a penalty of 1.28 per mile during the rush hour to force people out of their cars.

It is not surprising that people seem unwilling to give up the 'safe haven' of their cars
Swiftcover.com chief executive Andrew Blowers

"On the other hand, it still has to address the issue of safety on public transport."

Mr Blowers added: "We know that most people feel safer in their cars, and it is now apparent that young people feel particularly vulnerable when travelling by public means.

"The real crux of the matter is that the government has a responsibility to put measures in place to dramatically drive down crime on public transport.

"It is not surprising that people seem unwilling to give up the 'safe haven' of their cars for the potential nightmare of public transport."

The DfT says it aims to reduce crime and fear of crime on public transport by publishing good practice, encouraging a multi-agency approach and promoting crime reduction schemes.

The department says that the latest national survey of people's perceptions of security and crime on public transport bears out its claim that crime is rare.

Crime on public transport is low relative to the number of journeys that are made

The survey, carried out in April 2004, found 64% of people questioned felt positive about their security while travelling.

However, the same survey found that 11.5% more journeys would be made on public transport if passengers felt more secure.

A DfT spokesman said: "Crime on public transport is low relative to the number of journeys that are made. The latest British Transport Police figures show that crime on the railway fell 3% on the previous year.

"But one crime is one too many. Safety must remain a top priority, and action is being taken to improve safety on public transport for passengers and staff."

The spokesman said the department was working with the bus industry to look at ways of combating crime and anti-social behaviour.

Rail staff had been given powers to tackle anti-social behaviour, and there were more CCTV cameras and better lighting on the network, he added.

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