Assaults on bus drivers almost double in year

Translink offers a reward for helping to make a successful prosecution against commuters who abuse staff
Translink offers a reward for helping to make a successful prosecution against commuters who abuse staff

The number of assaults on bus drivers has almost doubled over the past year.

During the same period there was also an increase in antisocial behaviour on Northern Ireland trains.

The figures were revealed by the minister for infrastructure in response to two written questions by Daniel McCrossan, SDLP MLA for West Tyrone.

In 2014/15, 25 bus staff were attacked and during the following 12 months the number of assaults rose to 45.

Verbal assaults were also on the rise over the past three years, with only two recorded incidents in 2013/14 rising to 28 in 2015/16.

Inappropriate behaviour and antisocial behaviour fell significantly over the same period.

Meanwhile, 16 train staff were assaulted during the past year, a similar number to the last three years.

However, incidents of antisocial behaviour on board trains rose from 50 to 79.

The overall trend on trains was an increase across the key areas of physical and verbal abuse, inappropriate and antisocial behaviour. On buses, despite the increase in physical and verbal attacks, the overall trend of misdemeanors was a downward one.

A Translink spokesperson said: “Our primary concern is the safety of passengers and staff.

“We have a zero tolerance approach to unacceptable or antisocial behaviour on any of our vehicles or property and will pursue those engaged in such behaviour with a view to securing a prosecution.

“If bus or train crew or station staff witness an incident of antisocial behaviour, it is reported.

“Translink also continues to operate a reward scheme, which offers up to £1,000 reward to anyone who gives evidence leading to a successful prosecution.”