CONCERNS are growing for the safety of bus drivers and passengers on the Gold Coast following the recent spike in assaults.
In Parliament yesterday, Member for Gaven Dr Alex Douglas MP asked the Minister for Transport and Main Roads a question on notice, asking what security measures were in place to protect bus drivers and passengers from unprovoked violence.
Mr Douglas said bus drivers and passengers deserved the best possible security and protection from alcohol and substance abuse-fuelled violence.
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He has encouraged bus drivers to speak out about their experiences and to have their say on what they think is the answer.
“It’s time that drivers were protected by Perspex barriers because as we’ve seen in the past month, these attacks are becoming extremely violent and peoples’ lives are being put at risk,” Mr Douglas said.
“Maybe the time has come to introduce mandatory sentencing, similar to what we have for assaults on police officers?
“Whatever, the security of our drivers is top priority, particularly those working at nights and weekends when anti-social behaviour seems to be at its worst.”
On Monday, Shadow Transport Minister Jackie Trad said bashed Gold Coast bus drivers could have been spared their pain if the Newman Government had not dropped a Labor plan to install panic alarms.
“After a frightening spate of attacks on Gold Coast bus drivers, the previous Labor Government had offered to put duress alarms on all buses operated by Surfside in 2012,” said Ms Trad.
“Labor recognised the duty to protect bus drivers and passengers and had responded to growing community concern … but the incoming Transport Minister dropped the scheme.
“In recent weeks we have again seen violence on Gold Coast buses put drivers and passengers in hospital and still the Transport Minister fails to meet his obligations to ensure the safety of employees and those who travel on public transport.
“Surely it is now time for him to install panic alarms on Gold Coast buses without further delay.”