More trouble in paradise

Again lamenting violent behaviour on the Gold Coast, TAG prepares its report on last Sunday’s bus ‘terror’

More trouble in paradise
More trouble in paradise

By David Goeldner | June 26, 2012

Transit Australia Group, the operator of Surfside Buslines, is today preparing an incident report on precisely what happened in relation to the driver, the operations room and security measures taken during last Sunday night’s attack on a bus at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast.

The incident made national headlines this week when a mob of teenage males allegedly smashed the windows and sides of the Surfside low floor bus just before midnight on Sunday.

The damage was done immediately after two teenage girls boarded the bus at Burleigh Heads.

The attack lasted for several minutes, which included a metal bar being thrown through one of the windows.

It is believed as many as eight youths surrounded the bus and smashed its sides.

No-one was injured in the incident, and the bus driver immediately called for assistance during the attack.

The Queensland Police Service issued a statement this morning that an 18 year old male was arrested on Monday afternoon in connection with the incident.

QPS allege that around 11.15pm on Sunday night a bus stopped on the side of the road to allow passengers off at which time a man allegedly struck the vehicle damaging two windows and a door.

The 18 year old man from Banora Point was given notice to appear for going armed in public to cause fear. He is due to face the Southport Magistrates Court on August 3, 2012.

Further investigations are being conducted by police in relation to the incident and the damage to the bus.

TAG’s report will be provided to TransLink and TAG senior management.

Similar violence towards the Surfside drivers and passengers is becoming a regular occurrence on the Gold Coast, prompting calls for enhanced security across the Surfside bus fleet.

The previous Queensland Labor Government, prior to losing the March election, pledged funds to implement a duress alarm system across the Surfside fleet, but the rollout is yet to start.

TAG General Manager Megan Harkin says the company is working with TransLink to dovetail the duress alarms into the ‘real time’ project, currently being installed on Clarks Logan City bus fleet, which operates neighbouring territory between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

"We are advised that once the Logan trial is completed we will be the next network to have this technology installed – approximately 12 months away," Harkin says.

However, Harkin says TAG has rolled out extensive training to Gold Coast drivers on personal security and how to manage hostile and dangerous situations.

"We also work closely with our security provider and Gold Coast police on incident and accident responses," she says.

Given the spate of violent behaviour on the Gold Coast public transport system, Harkin would not be drawn to comment on whether there was a broader endemic behavioural problem on the tourist strip.

"We do not experience these issues on any of our other networks," Harkin says.

She says community behaviour is an issue outside of TAG’s control.

However, Harkin says TAG is currently in discussion with the Queensland Bus Industry Council on the need for public education campaigns.

"Safety on and around public transport is a whole of community issue," she says.

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