Figures show 26 Dublin Bus staff were assaulted this year
Lack of dedicated police unit for buses and trains criticised
Figures indicate that the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour on board the Dublin Bus fleet, or at its bus stops, has fallen by nearly a fifth in the first quarter of this year, compared with 2018. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Mr Ross also said figures show the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour on board the Dublin Bus fleet, or at its bus stops, has fallen by nearly a fifth in the first quarter of this year, compared with 2018.
Commenting on the figures, head of environment and planning at Technological University Dublin Dave O’ Connor said, criminals are taking advantage of public transport staff due to the State’s lack of a dedicated police unit for buses and trains.
Most major cities have a dedicated transport police, he said. Private security firms, such as those employed on the Luas lines in Dublin, do co-operate with gardaí, but they have limited powers.
“There has to be the perception of safety among both staff and users of public transport for any system to operate effectively,” Mr O’Connor said. “People who are recurring problem makers – they’re aware of what they can get away with. They usually wouldn’t take the risk if they thought they would get in trouble.”
Responding to Dáil questions earlier this month, Mr Ross said the Dublin Bus fleet is fully fitted with CCTV cameras, while Irish Rail will shortly pilot body cameras for ticket inspectors, as well as increased security personnel.
Earlier this month, Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger said a Bus Éireann driver was “effectively kidnapped” when he was held at knifepoint and ordered to drive to Drogheda two weeks ago.
“The passenger had a false bus pass and had been challenged by the driver. The driver complied with all emergency procedures, yet the police who were meant to be at Drogheda never arrived,” she said, “This is just one in a long litany of incidents of attacks on bus and rail workers.”
Bus Éireann drivers are “extremely worried” about their personal safety, Mr Nugent said, adding that a driver at Busáras in Dublin was spat at in the face by a passenger after he refused to allow him on board with hot food.