Bus drivers in daily battle
POSITION VACANT: Person required for full-time job working split shifts up to 19 hours a day. Approximate income of $38,000 p.a. Must have heavy vehicle licence. Security and self-defence training is not required but beneficial. Policing experience would be an advantage.
Would you want to be a school bus driver in Ipswich?
After the recent sacking of a Westside Buses driver for leaving a child behind at a bus stop, the QT spoke to four Ipswich bus drivers about their experiences.
Driver 1: "It's very hard to concentrate when you have kids behind you yelling and screaming.
"You have to take your eyes off the road to see what is going on.
"What we would like is for Translink or the Education Department to get off their butts and put inspectors on every bus. We're the ones that get abused."
Driver 2: "Kids run riot on the bus but the biggest problem is the ones that won't pay. We try to write them up, but in the end it is pretty much a waste of time.
"Some kids whose parents are paying over $10,000 a year for them to go to school try to dodge a $1.22 fare ... why?"
Driver 3: "A supervisor is the thing that is most needed.
"There are a lot of times when we just have to pull over because you simply cannot drive under the circumstances that we face. It shouldn't be our responsibility to discipline kids ... but it is."
Driver 4: "I was driving when a fight broke out over a seat allocation. I tried to talk to the kids but within five minutes one of them was stabbing the other in the neck with a compass.
"It could very easily have been me that got a compass in the side of the neck. All you can do when you are a school bus driver is to sit down, shut your mouth and let them get on with it."
Transport Workers Union official Brendan Bogle said it was time to get serious.
"The union is calling on the P&Cs to sit down with drivers. It's not fair that blame gets thrown back at the drivers," he said.
"It's time the 'no child left behind' policy was reviewed.
"If the kids know how to the beat the system, the system needs to change."