Calls To Better Protect Bus Drivers After Vicious, Unprovoked Attack At Smithfield On Friday

Release date: 14/02/2016

The Advertiser, by Miles Kemp, 14 February 2016
A bus driver needed hospital treatment after being repeatedly punched at the Smithfield bus interchange on Friday night.

There are renewed calls to improve safety for bus drivers after a vicious attack on a driver in Smithfield on Friday night. File photo.

The attack, allegedly by a female passenger, left him with a bleeding and broken nose and needing medical treatment at Lyell McEwen Hospital.
It was the third serious assault this year on a bus driver.
Drivers have renewed calls for better protection, including perspex screens and security monitoring of passengers.
The driver, who does not want to be named, alerted other drivers to the incident on Facebook shortly after the attack at 8pm: “Checked in at the Lyell McEwen Hospital, and now the waiting begins’’.
Police said in a written statement: “A 21-year-old woman from Northfield was charged with assault to cause harm, offensive language, resist arrest and refuse name and address. She was bailed to appear in the Elizabeth Magistrates Court on 11 March’’.
Thirty-year Adelaide bus driving veteran Stephen Lucas, a friend of the driver, said he understood his friend’s nose was broken after he was repeatedly punched in the face during a dispute over the sale of a ticket. A spokesman for Southlink, which operates the outer northern suburbs service for Adelaide Metro, confirmed the driver worked for the company.
Mr Lucas said: “He was a quiet-natured bloke who wouldn’t say boo to a goose’’.
Mr Lucas said public transport drivers were not properly protected unless they drove trams or trains, in which they were cut off from passengers and had security guards. “The bus driver is largely on their own,’’ he said.
Transport Workers Union secretary Ray Wyatt said because of the recent violence against drivers, the union had asked the Minister for Transport for security upgrades.
Meanwhile a Freedom of Information investigation by the Sunday Mail shows DPTI doesn’t even keep a film record of the assaults and the union wants to know why.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport refused to comment on why it does not view or keep CCTV vision of bus driver attacks, and along with police could not say how many other attacks there had been so far this year.
Mr Wyatt said: “What we have found out with the heightened number of assaults, and we don’t know why there are more, is that all the safety resources are on the trains.’’

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