TWU campaign for drivers

The NSW branch of the Transport Workers’ Union wants to eliminate abuse towards drivers

The New South Wales branch of the Transport Workers’ Union has launched the ‘Don’t Blame the Bus Driver’ campaign which urges frustrated passengers not to blame bus drivers for issues they can’t control.

Assistant Secretary Richard Olsen says the campaign is aimed at defusing threatening situations which can result in physical, verbal or racial abuse.

"Bus drivers are sick of getting physically attacked or abused for things they can’t control," he says.

"Abuse from passengers when the bus runs late is a common experience for drivers, even though the timetables, services and traffic conditions are completely out of their hands.

"Recently, we’ve seen drivers seriously bashed in Blacktown and Bankstown, and across the network, drivers are copping verbal and racial abuse on a daily basis."

The TWU anti-assault campaign urges fed up passengers to contact the Transport for New South Wales complaint line directly, to let them know what they think of the services.

Olsen says the State Government needs to hear the truth about bus services and the drivers should be left alone to do their work.

 "Our Bus drivers provide an essential community service and they should be able to go about their jobs safely," he says.

"The State Government needs to step in and facilitate meaningful negotiations between drivers, operators and Transport for New South Wales to find a solution and address these serious and ongoing problems."

A recent industry survey of more than 300 bus drivers across New South Wales found 32 per cent of drivers have been assaulted, 33 per cent of drivers have had a passenger assaulted on their bus and 78 per cent of drivers have been abused by passengers because of unrealistic timetables.

The campaign will initially focus on ‘hot spot’ areas including Penrith, Blacktown and Liverpool.

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