By GEMMA WOLK
THE Greyhound bus depot has been accused by NSW Rape Crisis Centre of putting women in danger by ignoring their duty of care.
The depots, situated on Eddy Avenue below Central Station in Sydney, provide no facilities for those travelling after 6pm, when the Greyhound offices close. The departing buses run until 10pm, meaning travellers are left waiting for up to four hours.
Manager of the New South Wales Rape Crisis Centre Karen Willis said: “Greyhound are providing a transport service but are ignoring their duty of care…the situation presents the potential for rape”
The lack of baggage lockers, good lighting and a secure seating area, means women with no alternatives other than to catch one of the late buses are at risk.
The NSW Rape crisis centre’s statistics show that between 1 July 2007 and 30 June 2008, women aged 16-45 years provided 81% of rape reports, the most likely ages for any female travellers using the Greyhound services.
Ms Willis said: “Standing alone creates the fear, which is enough to stop using the transport when it may be their [female traveller’s] only option…if unable to provide facilities, Greyhound should establish a safe alternative point for pickup”
The closest luggage lockers are situated two sets of traffic lights away at 800 George Street, where a steep flight of stairs must be climbed with any baggage. No sheltered waiting area means there is nowhere secure to be seated after dark, and the lighting along the depot strip only provides a dingy glow.
Terminal Manager of Greyhound Sydney, Amanda Tayyara said: “There is nothing after 6[pm]” in response, regarding facilities provided for waiting women passengers but had no comment regarding future developments to rectify the situation.
“I would never consider getting a bus because I wouldn’t want to be there [Greyhound depots] after dark” said Gina Hall, a Glebe resident. “The station is a major transport hub, but has none of the facilities worthy of a big city.”
Mrs Hall said she would go as far as to ‘reschedule bus trips’ to avoid the late night vulnerability. For women with no other option but to catch a night bus, a deliberate change in schedule to avoid standing alone after hours, means restriction of freedom.
Three months ago, the mass brawl on Eddy Avenue the night of December 23 2008, when “a group approached European tourists and asked them for money”, along with the recent report by Jordan Baker, Chief Police Reporter showing that central Sydney is ‘the most violent local area command when it comes to alcohol-related assaults’ both illustrate the very real risks to female travellers along Eddy Avenue.
The ‘Transit Branch’ of the police station is situated nearby the depots on Eddy Avenue, but were unable to comment on whether the Greyhound strip provided catalyst for any crimes against women, only agreeing that “seating is always good” regarding facilities for after hours.