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Dublin: 14 °C Friday 19 April, 2019
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Dublin Bus driver: 'We need transport police to protect bus drivers from assaults and abuse'

The last incident on my bus really knocked my confidence. It was a cyclist who spat in my eye, writes Dublin Bus driver, Dave Fitzsimons.

Dave Fitzsimons

I HAVE BEEN a Dublin Bus driver for the past 11 years and I love my job – especially meeting people from all walks of life and getting them home safely.

I feel that I have a real responsibility of care to the customers that ride on my bus everyday. But sadly, for them and us, these days anti-social behaviour is becoming a regular occurrence.

I work out of Ringsend garage as a spare driver. That means I can be put driving any route that works from that garage, be it the 27 from Jobstown to Coolock or the 65 from the City Centre to Blessington.

Over the years I’ve had quite a few incidents from youths throwing stones and smashing windows on the bus to being told that they want to assault you just for doing your job.

My first experience of anti-social behavior while driving a bus was not too long into my career – I’d say about two months in fact.

As I was driving up the Blessington Road heading back into town on the 65B from city west, I could see a few youths in the field by the side of the road. They had a car wheel and as I got up to them they threw the car wheel in front of my bus and thank god it just bounced off the front windscreen and away from my bus and any other traffic that was traveling on the road at the time.

As well as these kind of dangerous incidents, there is also serious verbal abuse against drivers and much of this is racist in nature. 

I really do feel sorry for my colleagues from different parts of the world, just trying to do a days work, as I have heard of the racial abuse they have to endure.

The last incident on my bus was in September of this year and it really did knock some of my confidence for a while to be honest. It was a cyclist who spat in my eye.

Having to go home and tell my wife what had happened and that I would have to be tested in case of infection was the hardest part.

I did get the all clear from St James Hospital after having blood tests done and hepatitis B jabs done as a precaution.

I felt humiliated it felt like a punch in the face. I think that these type of incidents could be prevented from happening in the first place if we had a policing security unit on all public transport.

I think that would make these type of people think before they do things like this, knowing that there is a good chance they will be caught, rather than knowing that they will get away with it.

Dublin Bus does have CCTV fitted and everything is recorded, we fill out incident forms every time anti-social behaviour happens. But if there was a special transport police unit in place, I believe that most of these incidents could be prevented from happening in the first place. 

I really do hope the Minister for Transport will support public transport workers and consider funding a transport police unit to keep the drivers and their passengers safe. 

Dave Fitzsimons is a Dublin Bus driver, aged 40. He is supporting the National Bus and Railworkers Union’s calls for the establishment of policing unit for public transport. 

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Dave Fitzsimons

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