‘Slap on the wrist’

More protection for bus drivers urged after another serious assault this week

‘Slap on the wrist’
Peter Biagini

A Cairns bus driver was hospitalised after an assault this week, prompting the Transport Workers’ Union to call on the Queensland Government to step up.

The bus driver was hospitalised after the attack saw the bus driver’s protection screen hit so hard it smashed and cut the driver.

The assault came after passengers reacted to being told they cannot eat on the bus, a condition of travel on all public passenger vehicles in Queensland.

TWU State Secretary Peter Biagini says the assault will sadly be just one of the hundreds that will happen to Queensland bus drivers this year and many attackers only receive a slap on the wrist.

"A bus driver is someone doing their job, so why, if an armed police officer is assaulted doing their job the offender receives a mandatory sentence, yet if someone assaults an unprotected bus driver they receive a slap on the wrist?"

He says assaults like this continue to highlight how serious the problem is and how much drivers need the Queensland Government to step up and enforce harsher penalties for offenders.

"Thankfully Cairns had retrofitted their night buses to include the half-protection screens, and while this has assisted, it’s still not enough," he says.

"Another safety concern is that these are only half-screens and not full and that they are made of glass."

Biagini says there needs to be a holistic approach to improving safety and it needs to happen before someone dies.

"If this government is serious about cracking down on the menaces of society and improving public safety, then the first place they need to look is at the thugs who bash and rob bus and taxi drivers."

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive the ABC e-newsletter, digital magazine and other offers we choose to share with you straight to your inbox

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook