Gold Coast Bulletin: Bus driver attackers need to face full force of law, union demands

UNION bosses are demanding tougher penalties for the attackers of public transport workers after a Gold Coast bus driver was allegedly bashed for his cash tin.

By Jessica Elder & Lea Emery, Gold Coast Bulletin

A 16-year-old is in detention after the alleged attack and failed robbery on a Surfside bus at Benowa on Wednesday night.

The teen boarded the bus at Nerang about 11pm, headed for Surfers Paradise. Halfway there the youth allegedly yelled at the 36-year-old driver, punched him in the face and tried to steal his till.

It is the first bus driver assault of 2017. Surfside Buslines yesterday confirmed there were serious nine attacks in 2016.

Transport Workers’ Union Queensland Secretary Peter Biagini said the assaults showed no sign of stopping and an investigation was needed to ensure offences were dealt with properly.

“These assaults should be seen in the same light and receive the same penalties as assaults against emergency service workers,” he said.

“Public transport workers should be able to go to work and not worry about whether they will make it home in one piece.”

Surfside Buslines general manager Martin Hall said the company took safety seriously.

“We have zero tolerance for opportunistic criminal behaviours like this, which put driver and passenger safety at risk,” he said.

“All such matters are referred to and dealt with by police and we are thankful police action (on Wednesday night) resulted in the alleged perpetrator’s immediate arrest.

“We are fortunate our driver wasn’t seriously injured in this incident and applaud his experience and training in notifying our control centre immediately to request immediate assistance.”

The accused teen, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, did not apply for bail when he briefly appeared in Southport Magistrates Court yesterday charged with attempted robbery.

The court mention took less than five minutes, during which the boy stared at his feet while in the dock.

He has not entered a plea to the charge.

Magistrate Gary Finger ordered the boy remain in detention until his next court appearance on January 11.


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