Transit officers can now make arrests on unruly bus passengers
Transit officers have been given the power to ban or stop public transport passengers in a bid to crack down on anti-social behavior on buses in the territory.
The increase in powers stems from bus drivers raising safety concerns with the Government of the Northwest Territories over thousands of cases of abuse, violent assaults and rock-throwing that have taken place. products over the years.
Almost two years ago, a contingent of bus drivers wrote a letter to the government threatening a class action lawsuit on the grounds that the government had failed in its duty of care because it was aware of the serious safety problems facing confronted the bus drivers but had done nothing about it.
Administrative changes to the Public Transport (Passenger Safety) Act 2008 which came into force on Monday and recent procedural training will now give public transport officers more powers to deal with anti-social behaviour, including issuing prohibition notices to people who break the law or commit anti-social activities on buses or at bus stops and interchanges.
They will also now have powers of arrest if a transit officer is assaulted or if a person commits a series of offenses near a bus or bus interchange, as well as the power to “treat with a person who assaults someone or damages property when the offender is outside a bus interchange.
“More broadly, contract security guards also have increased powers and can now require a person to provide their name, date of birth and address, give directions and demand that someone get off. a bus or walks away from a bus stop or bus interchange, but without the power to use force to remove the person,” the government said in a statement.
Transport Workers Union Northern Territory branch secretary Ian Smith said it was a ‘step in the right direction’ to address safety concerns and welcomed ‘anything that promotes safety on the network”.
But the union said more work was needed to fully address all safety issues.
“Once people start seeing that there are consequences to their actions, we could definitely see changes in their behavior, and that’s what we want,” he said on Mix 104.9.
“Darwin is a sophisticated city and has an excellent public transport system. Its buses… must be safe.
Mr Smith added that more security guards and more driver shields were also needed.
Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Minister Eva Lawler said the new measures would ensure the safety of drivers and all public transport passengers.
“Passengers and bus drivers have the right to feel safe when using the transit system, and these new powers will help our hard-working transit officers maintain a peaceful environment on our buses,” she said.