He added that he would consult with women’s groups to see whether the proposal would be welcome.
But anti-sexism groups have railed against the idea, saying it’s not the right solution to the problems of sexual harassment and safety on public transport.
The Everyday Sexism Project, an online initiative that collects stories of daily harassment, said it was a backwards step that suggested that harassment is an inevitable fact of life.
Love or loathe the idea, it has gotten people talking, with #womenonlycarriages trending on Twitter in the U.K. on Wednesday morning. Some said that women-only cars would make women feel safer, while others called the concept patronizing and compared it to the Taliban.
Corbyn’s Labor Party rivals — Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall — have generally shied away from attacking Corbyn, the favorite to win the party leadership race Sept. 12. But on this issue, all three quickly condemned the proposals.
“In this day and age, we shouldn't be even considering the idea of segregated train travel. As a dad of two young girls, I want to see a proper society-wide strategy on tackling violence against women,” Burnham said in a statement.
“Why should we have to shut ourselves away to stay safe?” Cooper tweeted.
Kendall said that “segregation” was an “admission of defeat, no sustainable solution.”
British Transport Police recently released figures showing they recorded 1,399 sexual offenses on public transport in 2014-2015, up 25 percent over the previous year. The police said that the increase was primarily a result of a campaign that has prompted greater reporting of incidents.
Women-only train cars are in operation in Japan, India and other countries, and it’s not the first time the idea has been floated in the U.K.
Last fall, Conservative transport minister Claire Perry said she would consider the idea. "They have introduced women-only seating in Japan because there is a particular problem with groping and low-level violence. It is a very interesting question, and I will look at all ideas," Perry said.