27 September 2023

Barriers for bus drivers just the ticket

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All new urban buses in Queensland are to have driver safety barriers following the outcomes from the Department of Transport and Main Roads’ Queensland Bus Driver Safety Review.

Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey said the barriers would help to protect drivers from unacceptable behaviour, including impolite actions, personal abuse, verbal aggression and physical violence.

“Safety of drivers is paramount and mandatory driver barriers on new urban buses consolidates a best practice approach and supports improved safety standards across the fleet,” Mr Bailey said.

He said the approach followed extensive engagement with bus industry stakeholders to understand different operating environments and perspectives on driver barriers.

“From this engagement we know there is no one-size-fits-all solution for barrier design,” he said.

“The recent Bus Driver Safety Barriers Roundtable was focused on a discussion with industry on the best way to implement the new mandate.

“It’s important that introducing this mandate still provides individual bus operators with the flexibility to implement a solution that is best suited to their network.”

Mr Bailey said that to determine the most appropriate solution, bus operators would be required to undertake a comprehensive risk assessment, including consultation with their workforce.

He said that following a bus driver safety plan released in 2018, a bus driver safety scheme allocated grants to fund retrofitting driver barriers for eligible bus operators.

“With much of the Queensland urban fleet now fitted with a partial barrier, the recent Review is an important step forward in the continuing efforts to ensure the safety of drivers, passengers and other frontline staff on the public transport network,” he said.

“In addition to installation of driver barriers, the Review recognised that complementary measures such as de-escalation training and incident reporting are also an important part of the solution,” Mr Bailey said.

The 134-page Queensland Bus Driver Safety Review can be accessed at this PS News link and the Government’s 12-page Final Response to the Review at this link.

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