Bus drivers demand action following passenger assault on Newcastle night bus
The NSW Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) is calling for urgent action to secure driver and passenger safety on Newcastle night bus services after a man in his 20s was assaulted on the 100 service from Charlestown last night.
RTBU Bus Division President Gary Way said a group of about 20 young people first began causing trouble on a bus to Charlestown and were ejected by that driver for anti-social behavior.
Police were in attendance and the group continued their poor behaviour – swearing at the police.
The same group then caught the next bus service and the driver asked the police to assist by riding the bus until the trouble-makers got off. The police refused and said buses have their own transport police.
Within 15 mins a passengers’ hair was set on on fire and was physically assaulted, requiring medical attention.
“The State Transit Authority and local police need to take control of the late night 100 services to and from Charlestown to stop anyone else from being abused before there is an even more serious assault or fatality,” Mr Way said today.
“The Union finds it unacceptable that the experienced driver of the bus where the assault took place was refused police support when clearly there was a dangerous situation brewing.
“Most bus drivers have not seen any transport police on local late night services.
“Bus drivers are not security guards – they need the support of police and their employers to help protect themselves and their passengers.
“This is not a one-off outbreak of violence on this service, there was an assault on the same bus service last week and it has a reputation as a risky service for drivers and passengers alike.
“The Union calls for security guards or transit police on Newcastle late night bus services – particularly those which service Charlestown and are known for problem behaviour.
“If The NSW Government is committed to improving security on public transport it needs to act to end the known danger on the late night Newcastle bus services,” Mr Way said.