Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

Media Release: TikTok video of bus driver abuse shows urgent need to respect workers and better enforce Covid regulations

Feb 9, 2021COVID19 Media News

Greater resources are needed to enforce transport regulations and protect workers from abuse, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW has said, after a TikTok video of an attack on a Sydney bus driver has gone viral.

The footage appears to show a woman abusing a driver after being politely asked to wear a mask, photographing him with her phone and hammering on his protective barrier.

David Babineau, Secretary of the Tram and Bus Division, said the NSW Government must properly enforce its transport regulations or it will continue to place frontline transport workers at risk.

“There is no excuse for physical or verbal abuse of bus drivers by commuters. Imagine going to work and having to cop this type of abuse, it is unacceptable,” he said.

“This vicious attack on a driver is shocking, but it’s the clear result of lack of enforcement of COVID-19 regulations that has shifted the burden unfairly onto transport workers.

“It’s the job of the police, not bus drivers, to enforce regulations on public transport. That means more boots on the ground are needed to make sure people are doing the right thing by the community. But we haven’t seen a significantly increased police presence on the bus network.

“Instead, some employers are actually instructing drivers to ask passengers to wear masks. That is not their job, and it leaves them open to abuse and physical assault, as we saw so clearly this week.

“We ask all employers to stand by their workers who have risked so much during this pandemic to keep people moving. Do not ask drivers to place themselves at risk by policing their passengers, because this is exactly what happens when they do.

“The vast majority of the public understand why these regulations are important and are happy to do the right thing. No one should ever be abused at work. We ask the community to please respect the workers who are doing their best to keep everyone safe.”

Footage of the incident is viewable here.