Minister reacts to Surfside bus driver bashing

Tuesday’s bus driver bashing on the Gold Coast has prompted a Queensland Government offer to pump up security

Minister reacts to Surfside bus driver bashing
Minister reacts to Surfside bus driver bashing

February 16, 2012

The Queensland Government has offered to install duress alarms on Gold Coast buses in the wake of an unacceptable spate of attacks on drivers after discussions between the Transport Minister and the Transport Workers Union.

Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk says a duress alarm installation program could be brought forward in order to improve bus safety for both drivers and passengers, and TransLink would now hold talks with the bus operator Surfside.

Palaszczuk says TransLink also asked Surfside management to investigate several other options to increase driver safety in addition to installation of duress alarms.

"What we've witnessed on these buses over the past week with two serious attacks is not only frightening, it's unacceptable," Palaszczuk says.

"Nobody should have to go to work in fear of being spat at or in fear of being abused or physically assaulted."

Palaszczuk says safety for drivers - and their passengers - from attacks need to come first.

"That's why duress alarms were raised through a statewide bus safety committee and we will fund this initiative if the drivers and operators believe it is an appropriate safety mechanism," she says.

"I understand that there are a number of proactive measures being discussed and TransLink will look at all options put forward by the operator to improve safety."

Palaszczuk says she is encouraged by the response of Gold Coast police who will have further discussions between Surfside to assist with driver safety and training.

"I'm concerned by the growing number of abhorrent attacks on drivers on the Gold Coast.

"Our bus drivers do a great job and the recent attacks are sickening and we will not stand for this."

Palaszczuk says training bus drivers in conflict resolution and self-defence was also being considered to boost the safety of drivers on the Gold Coast.

"We welcome the efforts by police and Surfside to improve the protection of drivers."

Safety measures already in place for Gold Coast buses include:

• Roaming security patrols across the coast

• Additional Senior Network Officers across the coast

• Two way radios on buses back to base

• CCTV coverage of buses

Palaszczuk says in addition a new police outpost at Robina was under construction and would open later this year.

Eight bus drivers have been assaulted on the Gold Coast in the last month, with the most recent at Nerang and Miami.

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