ScotRail is pledging to take a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime on their services.
The train operator is supporting the new Hate Crime Charter, established by Disability Equality Scotland and partners on behalf of Transport Scotland which aims to ensure disabled people feel safe and free from hate crime, bullying and harassment when using public transport.
ScotRail has already taken part in a pilot scheme to test the effectiveness of the Charter.
In December 2019, over an eight-week period, the pilot reached more than 1.2million people in Fife and central Scotland.
Twenty four reports of hate crime were made, one specifically from an incident at Kirkcaldy station, which was one of 11 stations chosen as part of the pilot on the Fife Circle line.
According to the charity, many transport staff now feel better equipped to recognise and report hate crime, with 79 per cent saying they would welcome more training.
Instruction in disability awareness and hate crime will be offered to ScotRail and other transport providers pledging their support to the Charter. This will be delivered by Police Scotland and People First Scotland.
A media campaign will encourage rail passengers to report any incidents of hate crime by alerting a member of staff, texting British Transport Police or by dialling 999 in an emergency.
Alex Hynes, Managing Director Scotland’s Railway, said:
“Everyone has the right to travel safely. Hate crime has no place in society and certainly not on Scotland’s Railway.
“It is a cowardly and disgraceful way of targeting someone on the grounds of their disability, race, religion or sexual orientation.
“ScotRail is proud to be one of the first transport providers to sign up to the Hate Crime Charter and we will do all we can to help outlaw this despicable offence.”
The Hate Crime Charter encourages people to recognise and report hate crime. Information about how to report hate crime is contained on the Accessible Travel Hub website.