Bus marshals: Auckland Transport adds security guards on board after assault

For more than 50 years, some flights in the United States have been patrolled by “air marshals” to protect pilots and passengers.

Now, following a series of attacks on drivers culminating in a brutal mugging last year, Auckland Transport has rolled out a similar concept on the city’s bus routes.

Things yesterday revealed details and images of the December 17 incident aboard an Inner Link bus in central Auckland, where a passenger punched a driver in the face.

The driver received a final written warning from his employer NZ Bus for hitting back at the attacker, kicking him in the back.

* A bus driver was punched and given a final warning after an act of revenge was caught on CCTV
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* Shortage of bus drivers in Auckland leads to the cancellation of 1,754 services in a week

Neither Auckland Transport nor Mayor Phil Goff said whether they supported the company’s decision to discipline the assaulted driver, saying they would not comment on individual employment processes.

“It would be inappropriate for Auckland Transport to comment on any employment issues associated with this incident, but we can say that we expect our drivers to de-escalate any incident like this rather than trying to handle it themselves. “said a spokesperson for Auckland Transport. .

A passenger in Auckland punches a driver in the face, seen in CCTV footage from the bus.


A passenger in Auckland punches a driver in the face, seen in CCTV footage from the bus.

But the spokesman confirmed his officers are now boarding city buses as well as patrol stops and stations.

“In the period following this attack, we have worked to improve the security presence on our network, with continuous patrols by AT transport agents both on board services and at stops and stations.

“We continue to work closely with the police to ensure that we target our security efforts to high-risk areas and busiest services.”

The other CCTV camera showed the driver kicking the passenger in the back.


The other CCTV camera showed the driver kicking the passenger in the back.

On December 25, a week after the assault, Auckland Transport added more officers to patrol buses, the spokesman said.

A spokesperson for Goff town hall would not be fired on the driver’s case.

“The mayor endorses a zero-tolerance approach to those who physically or verbally abuse staff who are just doing their jobs.

“With respect to the specific case raised, it is not appropriate for the mayor to rule on individual employment matters. There are appropriate dispute resolution procedures for staff and TAs to follow in these cases. »

The passenger's second shot at Jeon didn't land.


The passenger’s second shot at Jeon didn’t land.

Streetcar Union president Gary Froggatt said the driver, Alex Jeon, had not been properly trained in how to handle “violent unprovoked aggression”.

He supported Jeon in the meeting and would appeal to the company.

Froggatt said the warning was “harsh and oppressive” given the circumstances, and the passenger never complained about Jeon’s conduct.

Police investigated but could not find the man who instigated the assault on the driver on the Friday night before Christmas 2021, who was captured on CCTV and obtained by Things.

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Susan W. Lloyd