ABC (Australia) - - NEWS -

‘SIT­U­A­TIONAL AWARE­NESS’ and ‘de-es­ca­la­tion train­ing’ started by Trans­port for Bris­bane al­most a year ago is near­ing 100 per cent com­ple­tion, with thou­sands of bus driv­ers record­ing markedly im­proved anti-so­cial-be­hav­iour-deal­ing skills ac­cord­ing to sur­veys from re­spon­dents, it’s re­ported re­cently.

As re­ported on The Bris­bane Times news­pa­per’s web­site, from Septem­ber 12 last year Trans­port for Bris­bane started sit­u­a­tional aware­ness and de-es­ca­la­tion train­ing and thou­sands of peo­ple who drive Bris­bane’s buses re­ceived ex­tra train­ing for deal­ing with an­gry, ag­gres­sive and in­tox­i­cated pas­sen­gers. The train­ing fol­lowed rec­om­men­da­tions in Bris­bane City Coun­cil’s AusSafe re­port and the state gov­ern­ment’s Deloitte Re­port into bus driver safety, it’s stated.

Both re­ports fol­lowed the death of bus driver Man­meet Sharma, who was killed in an at­tack while driv­ing a bus at Moorooka in 2016. Dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion at the coun­cil’s public and ac­tive trans­port com­mit­tee, a coun­cil of­fi­cer said driv­ers had been taught about how body lan­guage and tone of voice could de-es­ca­late a sit­u­a­tion on board.

“The pro­ce­dures we have in play is if there is a cir­cum­stance on the bus the bus op­er­a­tor needs to deal with, we ask them to pull over to the side of the road, in a safe lo­ca­tion, to open the front and the rear doors to make sure any po­ten­tial ag­gres­sive or ag­gres­sor has the ca­pac­ity to re­move them­selves from the bus,” they said. “Some­times you don’t want to stand up as that may es­ca­late the cir­cum­stances, but to en­gage with the cus­tomer and try and calmly defuse the sit­u­a­tion.


Ac­cord­ing to The Bris­bane Times, the coun­cil of­fi­cer said while bus driv­ers were ex­pected to col­lect fares, there were sev­eral cir­cum­stances where driv­ers let pas­sen­gers travel for free.

“We have to ask for a fare ... how­ever, the state pol­icy gives the bus op­er­a­tor ca­pac­ity to use their judg­ment,” he said.

“If they be­lieve that they per­son­ally would be at risk, or the pas­sen­gers would be placed at risk by con­tin­u­ing to ask for a fare, the bus op­er­a­tor is taught to press the fare evade key and al­low that in­di­vid­ual to take a seat.”

Be­fore the train­ing 70.6 per cent of re­spon­dents strongly agreed or agreed they could de-es­ca­late dif­fi­cult cus­tomer in­ter­ac­tions us­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­niques while 26.97 were neu­tral or dis­agreed. Af­ter the train­ing 4.56 per cent felt neu­tral or dis­agreed and 92.7 per cent strongly agreed or agreed.

The coun­cil of­fi­cer said it was too soon to see if the ex­tra train­ing led to fewer in­ci­dents on buses.

Other rec­om­men­da­tions from the re­ports were driver bar­ri­ers, anti-shat­ter film ap­plied to bus win­dows, CCTV, duress and ra­dio, train­ing, cus­tomer ser­vice cards, in­ci­dent pro­ce­dures and re­cruit­ment.

All were im­ple­mented, ex­cept driver bar­ri­ers, it’s stated.

“... the state pol­icy gives the bus op­er­a­tor ca­pac­ity to use their judg­ment.”

Be­low:A Bris­bane Trans­port train­ing ini­tia­tive over al­most a year ago is said to have helped bus driv­ers bet­ter deal with on­board pas­sen­ger ag­gres­sion (Photo: Po­lice Me­dia).

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