Eight Queenslanders have joined the ranks of TransLink’s network officers as the Palaszczuk Government ramps up its campaign against fare evasion and anti-social behaviour on public transport.
The new Senior Network Officers (SNOs) will start their first shifts on the south east’s public transport network from next week after a graduation ceremony was yesterday held at the Queensland Police Academy at Oxley.
It comes as a new state-wide safety ad campaign gets ready to kick off this Sunday promoting zero-tolerance towards bus driver violence.
Called See It From Their Side the two-month community campaign will see ads running on television, radio and print across South East Queensland and regional centres.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said most people do the right thing on the public transport network but there was a small percentage doing the wrong thing.
“The Palaszczuk Government takes fare evasion and the safety of all passengers very seriously and has implemented a number of additional initiatives across the network,” Mr Bailey said.
“TransLink SNOs do an excellent job and boosting their numbers will help make public transport safer and give us a much greater presence across the network.
“The new SNOs follow the announcement in late September of a 12-month trial of eight new Customer Service Officers to ride on Westside Bus Company and Park Ridge Transit services.”
Mr Bailey said bus drivers took Queenslanders on more than 128 million trips last financial year, highlighting the important role they play in transporting customers.
“Drivers have the right to feel safe from abuse or physical harm when they’re simply trying to do their job.
“Just like our emergency service and other frontline workers, there’s no excuse for abuse.
“This campaign is confronting and features real-life violent scenarios faced by bus drivers, but it has a simple message: violence or abuse of drivers is not acceptable.”
The TWU’s Peter Biagini said SNOs are key to ensuring bus safety for passengers and drivers
“Fare evasion is one of the key issues causing conflict between drivers and members of the public,” Mr Biagini said.
“The TWU is grateful that the Palaszczuk Government is listening to bus drivers in Queensland and making real investments in driver safety.”
The RTBU’s Tom Brown said having SNOs on the bus makes the drivers feel safe and supported.
“With regard to abuse and violence, seeing the issue from the bus drivers’ side is pretty confronting,” Mr Brown said.
“Even more SNOs will be required in future. Many drivers were involved in developing these ads.”
Mr Bailey said more SNOs and the Bus Driver Safety Campaign were just two initiatives the government had introduced to improve the network.
“We’ll be starting the process to hire more SNOs in the coming weeks, while a second Youth Fare Evasion Roundtable is scheduled for early December to continue gathering input and formulating strategies to combat the issue,” Mr Bailey said.
“We continue to carry out targeted operations at South East Queensland schools to educate students on the importance of doing the right thing.”