In memory of Manmeet Alisher, protect bus drivers now

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Dear Lord Mayor Graham Quirk,

Please prevent Manmeet Alisher’s tragic death from happening to anyone else – protect Queensland’s bus drivers now.

29 year old Manmeet Alisher stood little chance. At approximately 9am on a sunny Brisbane morning on Friday 28 October, 2016; the beloved son, brother, fiancé and Brisbane City Council bus driver died horrifically at the wheel when he was set alight after driving into an inner-city Brisbane bus-stop to pick up passengers.

Not one month earlier on the 29 September, the former Queensland Minister for Transport, the Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe, announced a state-wide review into bus driver safety after more than 350 bus drivers were assaulted in a six month period.

Minister Hinchliffe cited that “Public transport workers, particularly bus drivers, often fall victim to verbal or physical abuse for simply doing their job” in a media release statement available here:  

Everybody has the right to work in a safe and harmonious environment, free from abuse; and especially if they are providing as vital a community service as public transport.

Yet globally, bus drivers routinely face road rage, commuter anger and traffic congestion; bear witness to vandalism and risk verbal/physical assault and armed robbery, among other crimes whilst doing their job.

Devastatingly, Manmeet’s death has illustrated just how vulnerable bus drivers, if not their passengers, are to fatal crimes, too.

Studies show that bus driver assault crimes are best prevented. Prevention of assault can be achieved via measures such as bus driver safety screens, and/or providing additional security staff.

The Bus Driver Safety Review (BDSR) is due to be finalised and submitted in March 2017. Going by previous statistics, this potentially means another 350 bus drivers will have been violently assaulted or worse.

Brisbane City Council have not provided ongoing interim safety measures to protect bus drivers from violence since Manmeet’s death on 28 October, 2016.

This petition asks for Brisbane City Council to implement interim as well as permanent bus driver safety measures immediately.

Please add your name to this public record of support for better public transport conditions and safer workplaces for us all.

#RespectandProtect #InManmeetsName