The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said he held concerns for the safety of passengers and bus operators under the current security measures which consist largely of camera monitoring.
“Recently I have been contacted by several Gippsland commuters who have witnessed, or fallen victim to, anti-social behavior on our local bus lines,” Mr O’Brien said.
“This includes the assault of a Gippsland bus driver at Southern Cross Coach terminal who was significantly let down by the current security measures.”
Mr O’Brien said that the bus driver called for assistance when the would-be commuter became unruly, only to be told that security would continue to monitor the situation on the cameras.
“As the situation escalated the bus driver was ultimately physically assaulted.
“This was an avoidable situation and should never have been allowed to escalate to the outcome that it did.”
Mr O’Brien said he wrote to the Minister for Public Transport seeking advice on what measures are in place to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers on buses travelling between Gippsland and South Cross Station.
“I have now received a response from the Minister indicating that VLine is working with Civic Nexus, the company which is responsible for operational aspects of Southern Cross Station on behalf of the state, to change or increase their current security measures.
“It is an unfortunate truth that bus drivers are often exposed to threats of violence through disgruntled or even drug or alcohol-affected commuters.
“It is important that the State Government is ensuring it is doing all it can to minimise the risk for drivers and passengers alike.”
Data released by the Crime Statistics Agency earlier this year showed that there were 360 reported incidents of crime on or around public transport in Gippsland in 2022.