Anxious bus drivers issue call for respect
Reported by AAP:
Sydney’s public transport workers are shaken by the slaying of Brisbane bus driver Manmeet Alisher and dismayed at a rise in heckling and even spitting by passengers, unions say.
The two unions representing bus drivers launched a national day of action on Wednesday to honour India-born Mr Alisher, also known as Manmeet Sharma, and highlight violence against public transport workers.
Pamphleteers were at Sydney’s Central Station during Wednesday’s morning peak urging the city’s commuters to say “thank you” to drivers.
David Barrow from the Sydney Alliance community organisation said some eager city workers had hopped on buses to say thanks before continuing their walk to the office.
Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW Secretary Chris Preston told AAP that more than 30 per cent of bus drivers report having been spat at and more than half experience verbal and physical abuse.
“We need the commuters to understand we are not there to be spat on or verbally abused, we just want to do our job and get you to where you want to go,” Mr Preston said.
Wednesday’s “Day of Respect” was organised by the RTBU and the Transport Workers’ Union in response to the death last month of Mr Alisher.
Mr Alisher died when an incendiary device was thrown at him while he stopped to pick up passengers in Moorooka.
Local man Anthony O’Donohue, 48, has been charged with his murder.