ABUSE and harassment is an “everyday occurrence” for Perth bus drivers, according to the Transport Workers Union (TWU), which is calling for more safety regulation ahead of the March State Election.
TWU WA state secretary Tim Dawson said the union had called for several measures to protect drivers, including Perspex spit guards and a cashless system.
“We’ve petitioned well over 1000 bus drivers about their safety and what they want the government to do,” he said.
“We’ve tried to have a meeting with the Premier and the Minister for Transport without any success; they just don’t seem to be interested.
“There should be Perspex screens, especially in light of what happened in Queensland where the bus driver was set alight.”
Scarborough police Senior Sergeant Haydn Farrow said a 41-year-old Balga man was charged with serious assault last month for allegedly spitting on a bus driver in Karrinyup.
“Although bus drivers deal with the general public throughout the course of their work, we treat this kind of thing very seriously,” he said.
A bus driver was also racially abused and spat on in Scarborough.
Mr Dawson said true numbers of attacks on bus drivers would be “alarming” if released.
“The bus companies don’t like giving out the stats about violence and incidents against bus drivers because they don’t want the general public to know the true numbers, because they would be alarming,” he said.
Transport Minister Bill Marmion said 96 per cent of Transperth buses were fitted with screens or cages.
“As well as on-board CCTV and two-way radios, all buses have GPS-linked duress alarms which can be discreetly operated by the driver,” he said.
“There are 18 mobile security units shadowing services as well as stationary patrols at bus stations providing a security presence around the network.”
Labor transport spokeswoman Rita Saffioti said she had met union members to discuss the proposed safety measures.
“We are looking at a review of bus security and have a seamless approach to ensure drivers have necessary back-up,” she said.