Riding the train to the beach and Santa Monica pier sounds very exciting.
But it's important to remember that for some people, a train or bus is a way to get between home and work. It's not always safe, either.
L.A. Metro estimates around 20 percent of all female riders experience some kind of harassment while riding.
"When I had to take the train home late at night, there was this man following me," rider Roxanna Garza told KPCC. "I didn't file a police report because I felt like I would be making a big deal out of nothing. People staring at me and following me on public transportation has always happened."
Metro recently launched a campaign against sexual harassment on trains and buses called, "It's Off Limits."
"We want people who see it to also be a part of this process," says spokesperson Paul Gonzalez. "Either speak up - 'Hey, leave that lady alone!' - or even stand up against it."
It acknowledges that stopping harassment is a bigger job than just for a transit agency, but for a whole culture.
"We really have to talk as a society that there is an issue," says Genevieve Berrick from Hollaback L.A., an organization dedicated to combatting the harassment of women. "L.A. Metro is one of the tiny, tiny handful of transport agencies in the world that's even acknowledged that there's even an issue."
Some riders told KPCC that they would like to see more law enforcement officers patrolling buses and trains, but Gonzalez says that strategy wouldn't completely prevent all incidents.
"They cannot be everywhere," he says. "That's why we want other people to work with us to make Metro as safe as possible."
Here is some advice from experts on what do to if you're subject to harassment or see someone in need.
- Call 911 or Metro's hotline 888.950.SAFE. That will connect you with Sheriffs to report unwanted behavior.
- Use the free L.A. Metro Transit Watch app to take a picture of an incident that you can submit to authorities.
- Talk with the train or bus operator to call for security.
- There is an emergency button in each train car that connects you with the operator so you can tell them you feel unsafe.
- If you witness harassment, Genevieve Berrick recommends you don't interfere directly. Instead, redirect people's attention. "Direct confrontation can create all sorts of escalation potential," she says.
Berrick suggests asking the victim if they are okay and if they need help. She also advises people to ask the harasser distracting questions. "Ask them for the time, of if this is your right stop," she says. "That will take the focus away and redirect the situation."
- Contact Peace Over Violence so you can find support and resources.
- Share your story or read others' on Hollaback L.A. so you know that you are not alone.