A total of 59 women were raped and sexually harassed on public transports in 52 incidents in 2019, according to a report by the Jatri Kalyan Samity – a platform for public transport passengers.
The organisation said that those incidents took place on road, rail and waterways.
The Jatri Kalyan Samity prepared the report based on the news published by different media outlets.
The report revealed that as many as 44 of the incidents took place on roads, four in railways and four others on waterways. According to media reports, 44 of these cases were reported and 93 accused were arrested.
Out of the 44 cases filed, 16 were rape cases, 12 were of gang rape, nine attempts to rape and 15 others of sexual harassments.
One case that saw widespread protests was the rape and murder of law student Rupa Khatun on a moving bus in Tangail in 2017. The trial of the case ended within a short period in 2019.
Four transport workers were sentenced to death and one was given seven years' imprisonment in the case. The rate of this type of occurrences somewhat reduced after the trial, but at present, these incidents are rising at a worrying rate due to the delay in filing of cases, arrests and trials of the accused.
Women are subject to disrespectful behavior, sexual assault, harassment and repression while using public transport, the report said. They are not only harassed by transport workers but also by other males travelling with them.
Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury, secretary general of the Jatri Kalyan Samity, said the number of news published is just a figurative measure of the real number of incidents.
"The actual scenario is far worse. Many of these victims do not get any sort of justice as they do not file cases fearing social stigma and a lengthy legal process."
The platform placed eight recommendations to stop such crimes, including installing CCTV cameras inside public transport; mandating uniforms with separate nameplates for bus drivers, helpers and supervisors; and preparing a database with appointment letters, national identity cards and photos of drivers, helpers and supervisors.
The platform also suggested installing signboards with the transport company's hotline number, phone number and vehicle's registration number inside the transports in visible locations.
Other recommendations included increasing the number of vehicles; putting reserved sits for women in buses and minibuses near the vehicle's entrance; and not allowing public transports to have opaque or covered windows.
Legal action should be taken and justice should be served as soon as possible for such incidents, the platform added.