Metro tackles sexual harassment on the transit system

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – When passengers are on Metro, the last thing they should have to worry about is being sexually harassed. But advocacy groups have come forward recently, telling leaders at the transit agency that harassment is a common occurrence.

In response, Metro says it is getting ready to roll out a new sexual harassment program.

Signs will start going up in stations at the beginning of next month.

“It’s making customers aware through media, especially in our stations, that (harassment) is not acceptable,” General Manager Richard Sarles said Thursday. “It’s also making people aware that if they say something to us, we will follow up on it.”

In addition, Metro has just set up the email address harassment@wmata.com and a website where complaints about harassment can be made. There have already been a number of complaints.

“I have no doubt that some people do not report these things, especially the more verbal types of harassments,” Sarles says. “We will listen to those and we will try to identify what is of a criminal nature and what is not.”

Metro’s harassment program is being modeled after a successful program by the MBTA in Boston. The program will try to identify particular trends that may be happening system-wide.

Metro station managers, front line employees and police are also being told to be more aware of the sexual harassment issue.

“But that’s just the start of the campaign,” Sarles said.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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