SIPTU has called for a dedicated public transport police division in light of a rise in anti-social bevaviour on buses and trains.
The suggestion has previously been shot down by the Garda Commisioner as well as the Taoiseach, but the Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) will meet today to launch a campaign on the matter.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, SIPTU transport, energy and aviation construction division organiser Karen O'Loughlin explained the motive behind the calls.
"I have my own lived experience as a woman who is, you know, not in her 20s anymore and has a lot of life experience", she said.
"Outside of my own experience, Transport Infrastructure Ireland published a report in July 2020 called Traveling in a Woman's Shoes, and that's a damning indictment of how people feel about the public transport system."
The report said that one in three women have been physically assaulted on public transport, and six out of 10 women don't feel safe when they're on the bus.
Some 55% of women prefer not to use public transport after dark, while the statistic is 45% for men.
"That's a really, really difficult place for people because we have a nighttime economy that depends on people going to and from their jobs", Ms Loughlin explained.
"We have our own members who work in public transport, who are more and more frequently now subject to verbal and physical assaults."
Is public transport unsafe to use?
She asserts, however, that she does not consider public transport unsafe on the whole.
"What I'm saying is that there are very serious safety questions to be asked about the traveling public and about workers and public transport."
"The evidence shows that the growth in antisocial behaviour and physical and verbal assaults for transport Workers and for traveling public is becoming more and more problematic."
"We've decided to take ownership of this problem in the union and say enough is enough."
Loughlin believes a dedicated transport police would be the most effective way of tackling the issue.
"When the vast majority of customers are saying they've had negative experiences with their own safety on public transport, somebody has to listen to that."
"When the transport companies will tell you that their staff are experiencing these sorts of behaviours more and more frequently, somebody has to listen to that."
She added: "That's why we've decided to take ownership of this problem in the union and say enough is enough."
Listen back to the full conversation here.
Main image shows passengers getting on a Dublin Bus. Picture by: Sergio Azenha/Alamy