Qld implements mandate for bus driver safety barriers
All new urban buses in Queensland will have driver safety barriers to help protect drivers from unacceptable behaviour, including impolite behaviour, personal abuse, verbal aggression and physical violence. This follows the outcomes of Queensland’s Bus Driver Safety Review and a subsequent independent review of bus driver barriers.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the mandatory driver barriers on new urban buses will consolidate a best practice approach and support improved safety standards across the fleet. The implementation of the driver barriers follows extensive engagement with bus industry stakeholders to understand different operating environments and perspectives on bus drivers.
“From this engagement we know there is no one-size-fits-all solution for barrier design. 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,” said Bailey.
In determining the most appropriate solution, bus operators will be required to undertake a comprehensive risk assessment, including consultation with their workforce. Following the release of a bus driver safety plan in 2018, a bus driver safety scheme allocated grants to fund retrofitting driver barriers for eligible bus operators. Bailey noted that with much of the Queensland urban fleet now fitted with a partial barrier, the recent review is a step forward in the continuing efforts to ensure the safety of drivers, passengers and other frontline staff on the public transport network.
“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. Education and increased safety awareness are a key component in driver safety, and an online training program for Queensland bus drivers aimed at reducing the incidence and intensity of passenger hostility was developed and implemented in 2021. This course provides drivers with ways to help anticipate, handle and cope during and after incidents involving customers,” said Bailey.
The bus driver de-escalation program, developed by Griffith University in collaboration with TransLink and the Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC), is aimed at helping bus drivers feel safer and be safer in their work. The Bus Safety Forum is an ongoing discussion between the bus industry, unions and government working on a raft of measures to bolster safety on Queensland buses.
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