6 Jun 2024

Auckland bus drivers 'fear for their lives' as violence and intimidation escalates

From Nine To Noon, 9:20 am on 6 June 2024
Bus driver.

Photo: 123rf

A union representing bus drivers in Auckland says many are going to work fearing for their lives, as aggressive behaviour and intimidation reaches crisis point. Auckland Transport data from earlier this year shows assaults on drivers have more than doubled over the past two years, from 24 assaults in 2022, to 51 in 2023.

Recent incidents include a bus driver who was stabbed in the ribs by a passenger in March, and a female driver who was kicked and punched by someone who did not want to pay a fare in Ponsonby.

Violent behaviour is impacting passengers too. First Union says drivers often feel pressured to step in despite not having the training, and the more serious incidents are the tip of the iceberg.

First Union's Hayley Courtney, and Auckland Transport group manager of public transport operations Rachel cara, speak with Kathryn Ryan.