Counsellors will also be available at bus depots across the state to support drivers, it was agreed after a meeting between the Transport Workers’ Union and SA’s Minister for Transport Stephen Mullighan today.
“This is a difficult time for all bus drivers since one in three have been physically assaulted, according to a survey. Monday will allow drivers to pay respect to their Queensland colleague but also to highlight a major problem they all face,” said TWU SA/NT branch secretary Ray Wyatt.
A survey of SA bus drivers carried out by the TWU earlier this year also showed over half of drivers faced aggressive passenger behaviour at least once a week while 80% felt threatened by the behaviour of passengers on their bus.
Following the survey and subsequent talks with the TWU, the Minister introduced tougher penalties for people who attacked public transport drivers and also security guards on bus and rail networks.
“The results of this survey show what bus drivers face on a daily basis. The penalties for those who attack drivers that SA has led the charge on should apply across Australia,” Wyatt added.
Other survey results showed:
- 71.6% of drivers report aggression to their bus companies, but only 27.7% of those drivers feel like their reports are taken seriously
- 96.1% agreed that greater safety measures are needed to protect bus drivers
- 48.7% suggesting full Perspex screens
- 89.7% and 83.3% saying an increased security guard and transit officer presence
- 83.3% agreeing that there needs to be harsher penalties for assaulting bus drivers.
- 89.1% of drivers believe alcohol or drugs are a main source of passenger aggression
- 80.7% say fare disputes are often a cause of aggression. Disturbingly, 41% believe passenger aggression is racially motivated.
- 63.5% agree that a completely cashless payment of fares would reduce passenger aggression.