THE Transport Workers’ Union has called for tougher action against offenders who attack bus drivers, after a man bashed a Gold Coast bus driver who’d driven him to hospital for free this morning.
It’s alleged the driver picked up the 20-year-old man in Surfers Paradise around 2:10am, when he told the bus driver he required medical attention and needed to go to the Gold Coast University Hospital urgently.
The bus driver allowed him to travel for free, but when the bus pulled up near the hospital at Parkwood, the man became aggressive and began assaulting the bus driver which continued outside the bus before the offender left.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
Police rushed to the scene and, after a conducting a quick search of the area, found the young offender inside the hospital.
The bus driver sustained a laceration to the back of his head and facial bruising, and was treated at the hospital for his injuries.
The 20-year-old Surfers Paradise man was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm and will face Southport Court on October 14.
Surfside Buslines released a statement confirming the incident on Monday, reassuring the public the company had invested heavily in increasing security on Gold Coast buses.
“Surfside is undertaking a full investigation, and is working with the Police,” the statement read. “CCTV footage of the incident has been provided, and Surfside understands that a suspect has been arrested and charged in relation to the incident.”
“Surfside has invested heavily in measures to reduce incidents like these, including CCTV on all buses in operation on the Gold Coast, private security guards on weekend and evening services and violence de-escalation training for its drivers.”
Queensland’s Transport Workers’ Union has called for the community to back tougher penalties for people who attack bus drivers in the wake of this morning’s brutal attack.
“Attacking a bus driver should get the same penalty as attacking a police officer, ambulance officer or firefighter,” TWU QLD State Secretary Peter Biagini said.
“A bus driver is in charge of people’s lives, often busloads of 50 plus children. When a bus driver is assaulted it puts all passengers at risk as the driver must keep control of the bus.
Mr Biagini said the QLD government had the money to pay for urgent safety measures which the TWU would continue to demand.
“We call on the community to join us and lead the call to make our buses safe by increasing penalties and getting the Newman government to pay for bus safety measures,” Mr Biagini said.
“The Newman government has the power to change legislation to increase the penalty for assaulting a bus driver and has ignored TWU demands to do this for two years.”
“Bus drivers and passengers have been attacked, buses have been smashed and people are getting away with an $800 fine and no conviction recorded for doing it.”
“Gold coasters will be watching to see what penalty this attacker receives; and the TWU is standing strong with our bus drivers and locals who rely on a SAFE bus service to get the penalty for attacks increased.”
TWU BUS DRIVER SAFETY DEMANDS
- The penalty for people who assault a bus driver to be increased to the same penalty as that for people who assault a police officer, firefighter or ambulance officer.
- Duress alarms to be fitted to all buses
- Live tracking: live streaming of incidents directly to the police through a CCTV system which is tracked by GPS so the bus can be located
- Full protection for drivers at night with a Perspex divider
- Training in conflict resolution and violence avoidance for bus drivers who have the responsibility of staying in control of their bus while under attack and protecting a busload of passengers often including children.
PICTURE: Increased police patrols on Gold Coast buses. SOURCE: Twitter