Toowong Bus Strike Delivers Wake-up Call to Improve Driver Safety

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Unfortunate events have been very rampant towards bus drivers in Brisbane since last year. In light of this, a bus strike has taken place in Toowong and other areas on 18-19 July.

Around 35,000 commuters during the early morning rush hour were warned to expect major delays due to the bus driver strike. On 18 July from 4:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., bus drivers in Sherwood, Willawong and Virginia went on strike.

In Toowong and other areas such as Carina, Eagle Farm and Garden City, bus drivers went on strike in the morning of 19th July. This affected all services, including school buses until 7:30 a.m.

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Their Demands

The Rail, Tram, and Bus Union has been pushing for pay and rostering adjustments. Furthermore, they are also pushing harder to improve safety for bus drivers in the city.

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A review was released last year, which was supposed to be due in March of this year, in a bid to make drivers and passengers safer citing security upgrades.

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Lord Mayor Graham Quirk quickly responded and released an independent expert review highlighting five recommendations to improve safety measures. These recommendations include additional emergency buttons, a new rear exit window, and better driver and passenger education. There is also a recommendation for putting safety barriers for bus drivers.

According to Cr Quirk, they will be making a program that will involve 600 buses to get the much-needed emergency facilities.

The review was then submitted to the State Government for consideration. However, the union knows that it would take months before the recommendations were implemented and they are seeking action now.


The Last Nail in the Coffin

In September 2016, the State Government has reported 350 bus drivers were assaulted in Queensland in just six months. In October 2016, Manmeet Alisher, a Moorooka bus driver was killed. A man allegedly threw an accelerant into the bus, which set it alight at a bus stop. The man was charged for the death of Mr Alisher along with the attempted murder of 14 passengers.


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They Want More

Tom Brown, the secretary of the union said that they are very grateful for these recommendations but they want more. The union wants to see extra security guards but the Council’s response to this request has so far been disappointing.

The RTBU believes that this bus strike would give them the results that they have been seeking for years.