"It's terrifying in the daylight hours, let alone the evening": Trans woman calls for security at Bedford bus station

She was verbally abused there… and it’s not the first time either
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A trans woman left shaken after being verbally abused at Bedford bus station has called for security to make shoppers and passengers feel safe.

Katie Riley was approached by a gang of four while standing with her friend at 6.50pm on a busy Saturday – with one man singling her out.

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Katie Riley thinks Bedford bus station needs securityKatie Riley thinks Bedford bus station needs security
Katie Riley thinks Bedford bus station needs security

She said: "He first mistook me for a cis woman, when my friend explained we were trans, and I'm transitioning, his face changed immediately. He then started asking obviously provocative questions, have I got male genitals and have I had an operation.”

He even tried to pull her hair to see if it was real or not.

“The others were not really involved in the abuse. Just him. He was obviously drunk and high. I could smell weed as soon as I walked through the sliding doors in the station itself. They were openly smoking joints and drinking alcohol.”

The incident has left Katie shaken and angry, prompting her to complain to Bedford Borough Council – which part owns the station along with Stagecoach – in the hope something will be done.

And the 47-year-old – who was too scared to approach police for fear of reprisals – says it's part of a wider problem at the station.

"This isn't the first time either. There are no security or staff to ask for help, and everybody just stares into their phones and pretends it's not happening.

"A few weeks back I was sat waiting for the Brickhill bus and a guy sat next to me. He put his hand on my thigh and I immediately stood up and said ‘what the hell do you think you're doing?’”

The ongoing incidents have left Katie often too scared to go out, especially to the bus station which she says “is terrifying in the daylight hours, let alone in the evening”.

She said: “It's like the wild west down there, it's terrible. I'd like to see a security person there who would make sure passengers and shoppers are safe. It's extremely intimidating, especially in the evenings. Or at least a regular police patrol, I can't believe they just sit there doing this type of stuff without reprisals.”

So far, the council haven’t responded to Katie but a spokesman told Bedford Today: “We don’t want anybody to feel intimidated or unwelcome in our town centre spaces. If anyone is a victim of harassment, or other violent, threatening or abusive behaviour, we advise them to call Bedfordshire Police in the first instance.

“There are CCTV cameras in the bus station. If Ms Riley is able to provide more information about the incident, such as a description of the offenders, then we will study CCTV footage from the time of the incident and will be happy to support any police investigation.

“Call 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger, or if you think there is a crime in progress. Call 101 to contact the police if the incident is not an emergency or visit here.”

We’ve also approached Stagecoach for a comment.

Katie added: “I'm not hugely confident going into town, especially in the evening. I use the bus to go shopping out of town, as I want to avoid this situation and these type of people. It's left me shaken and scared to go out, which is wrong. Nobody, no matter who they are, should have to put up with this.”