The Guardian 20 April, 2005

Perth bus drivers
demand better screens


Protection measures for public bus drivers in Perth took a battering as a passenger last week took just 28 seconds to tear down a "safety screen" meant to protect bus drivers, before leaving the driver with injuries that kept him off work for several days.

Drivers have criticised the welded mesh screens, saying they leave them open to being spat on, abused, stoned, poked and assaulted. Three hundred drivers responded to a survey on the safety screens by the Transport Workers Union (TWU), many complaining about their lack of effectiveness.

The TWU, representing the drivers, is calling for a summit to thrash out the issues surrounding bus driver safety in WA.

The union has approached the state minister responsible for workplace safety, John Kobelke, the workplace safety authority WorkSafe, the WA Public Transport Authority and the three private bus operators in Perth to join the summit.

The union has said that it is seeking agreement on cage design as the bus drivers are already under great stress, including having to keep to timetables.

Figures provided by Perth's three private bus companies show more than 400 incidents involving anti-social behaviour by passengers or projectiles being thrown at buses in the past six months.

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