TWU

Charges laid over bus assault

Release date: 1/05/2012

The Transport Workers' Union says Sunshine Coast bus drivers need to be urgently trained in conflict resolution and self-defence after an assault on Sunday.

Patrick Williams, Sunshine Coast Daily

A male driver was punched in the face three times by a man at Peregian Beach on David Low Way about 12.50pm.

Police said the offender had just boarded the bus when he began abusing passengers and the driver.

He then assaulted the driver, striking him repeatedly on the left side of the jaw, before being chased off the bus by other passengers.

The driver is on stress leave and will have counselling.

The union's passenger transport industry co-ordinator, Bob Giddens, said conflict resolution and self-defence training had been introduced on the Gold Coast following a string of violent altercations late last year and needed to be urgently adopted by their Sunshine Coast colleagues.

He said the union and Sunbus parent company Transit Australia Group were working together to make it happen.

"It's about bringing down the escalating violence against bus drivers," Mr Giddens said.

"This is not what they should have to put up with when going to work.

"They need to be taught how to talk and not to aggravate the situation and to defend themselves if necessary."

Mr Giddens said there had been many cases of drivers being assaulted.

In one recent incident a frozen two litre bottle of water was thrown at a driver.

Mr Giddens said arming buses with security guards was too costly to be an option.

Security is already in place on nightlink services on the Sunshine Coast.

A Transit Australia Group spokeswoman said there was no place for violent or unruly behaviour on public transport.

"We are fortunate that the occurrence of incidents of this nature on the Sunshine Coast are rare and public transport remains one of the safest ways to travel," the spokeswoman said.

"The driver also wanted to thank the passengers who came to his assistance and chased the offender off the bus."

Police are looking for the man involved in the incident.

He was described as being in his mid-20s, with a short goatee and long black hair.

He was wearing jeans and a check shirt and carried a guitar on his back.

Anyone with information that could assist police can contact Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000 or log on at crimestoppers.com.au.

Click here to read the story on Sunshine Coast Daily website

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