Violent-passenger profile

Violent Gold Coast bus passengers will be profiled as part of a $100,000 Bond University research program

Violent-passenger profile
Violent passenger profile
By Sean Muir | February 25, 2012

Violent Gold Coast bus passengers will be profiled as part of a $100,000 Bond University research program aimed at increasing bus safety.

The Australian-first research program was launched this morning on the Gold Coast and will include an app bus drivers can use to report incidents in real-time.

Researchers will then collate and analyse data
on bus
violence to better understand why it occurs.

Transit Australia Group Communications Manager Andrew Laing says the Gold Coast’s Surfside Buslines will work closely with researches as part of the project.

"It will really give us a good map of where and what sort of incidents are occurring,"
Laing says.

"The research will look into all the bits and pieces of all incidents – whether it is a youth or an adult offending, and what the circumstances are.

"We can then look at ways
to stop incidents occurring."

According to Bond University, the project aims to streamline the reporting of incidents with the goal of improving design features to increase bus driver safety, customer satisfaction and industry efficiencies.

Criminology researcher Yolande Huntingdon, under the supervision of Assistant Professor Robyn Lincoln, will collect and analyse data
on the frequency and nature of violence towards bus drivers.

"This research is unique," Huntingdon says.

"It has never been undertaken in Australia, and there are very few international studies that examine attacks on drivers. The first step in addressing the problem is knowing the crime.

"Anecdotally, we know the type of criminal activity that is taking place and that certain routes are more dangerous than others, but the fact remains that less than ten percent of incidents against bus drivers are actually reported.

"This study aims to capture the full extent of violence against bus drivers by training them in the use and importance of recording a range of incidents, with the assurance of complete anonymity."

Huntingdon says focus groups will be held and
tablet-type devices will be fitted to buses to allow drivers to quickly and easily record incidents in real time.

"Drivers will be trained in the safe and proper use of this device, which will gather all of the pertinent information about each individual incident -
from the geographic location and time of assault, to the type of violence or antisocial behaviour experienced.

"Without this information, it is impossible to design a good crime prevention strategy."

The results of the study are hoped to lead to a wider, national project to implement crime prevention strategies to reduce violence against drivers.

Queensland Bus Industry Council Executive Director David Tape says the research project is a step in the right direction.

"The safety of our drivers is paramount and this study will gather vital information that will benefit our Industry as a whole," Tape says.

Surfside Buslines Operations Head Les Manson says a number of recent incidents have put the spotlight on violent attacks against bus drivers.

"The only way to reduce assaults is to first, understand them," Manson says.

The university will also work closely with the Transport Workers Union (TWU), the Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC), and TransLink.

The project is supported by the Enterprise Connect Researchers in Business program.

Researchers in Business is an Australian Government initiative providing funding of up to $50,000 in matched funding to support the placement of researchers directly into businesses such as Surfside Buslines.

The funding stems from a scoping paper presented by Bond University researchers Yolande Huntingdon and Robyn Lincoln to the TWU and Transport Minister Scott Emerson, in August 2012, titled Behind the Wheel, in the Line of Fire, which documented violence and threats towards bus drivers as a significant problem.

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