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TASSIE BUS DRIVER SURVEY: ‘THREATS AND VERBAL ABUSE’

BREAKING: A survey of more than 100 Metro Tasmania bus drivers has found that seven in 10 drivers have been threated while working on the job, and a staggering 98 per cent of drivers have been verbally abused, according to the Rail, Tram and Bus Union state branch.

RTBU Tasmania secretary Ric Bean described the results of the survey as, “…shocking, but not surprising.”

Other key points highlighted by the RBTU Tasmania branch survey include:

* 67 per cent of operators believe Metro doesn’t take their safety seriously;

* 91 per cent believe the safety culture has not improved in the past five years;

* 50 per cent of drivers are either very likely, or somewhat likely, to resign;

* Lifetime bans for repeat offenders (74 per cent), more transit officers on identified problem routes (72 per cent) and temporary suspension of services on routes subject to repeated violent offences (70 per cent) were the highest rating measures to improve safety;

* 67 per cent have no confidence in current management to run Metro, 24 per cent unsure and only 9 per cent having confidence;

* 71 per cent feel their confidence in the ability of management has deteriorated in the past 12 months (somewhat and greatly combined);

* Main reasons for the high levels of resignation from Metro were safety – 76 per cent, wages – 73 per cent, rosters – 65 per cent, Covid – (often blamed by management) only 8 per cent!

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STATEWIDE ISSUE?

“Violent and anti-social behaviour on our public transport services is getting out of control.  It’s not fair on drivers, and it’s not fair on passengers,” explained Bean.

“These problems are statewide and they require urgent attention from Metro management and the State Government,” he said.

“Our members have had a gutful.  Already we have seen many bus drivers leave the industry because conditions are so bad, and concerningly half of the members we surveyed are considering resigning.

“Congestion on roads is getting worse, but we can’t expect people to switch from their cars to public transport if they are worried about their safety,” Bean explained.

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THE RESPONSE

“Keeping Metro staff and passengers safe is our number one priority – our staff – like front line workers across a variety of sectors – deserve respect,” Metro CEO Katie Cooper said.

“On Metro’s journey to modernisation, it is undergoing significant transformation and some employees are finding these changes challenging,” she said.   

“Metro is a fair and reasonable employer – we  engage and work constructively with our employees. 

“For example, Metro recently introduced major roster changes from 30 January with the support and co-design of the RTBU.

“Metro welcomes the feedback of its staff and will review the survey results when RTBU share them with us,” Cooper explained.

Photography: stock

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