Bus operators want CCTV cameras and panic buttons as crime deterrents. *Bermuda Sun file photo
Bus operators want CCTV cameras and panic buttons as crime deterrents. *Bermuda Sun file photo

A wave of violent attacks on board buses has sparked fresh calls from drivers for improved safety measures.

Drivers told the Bermuda Sun that they routinely faced threats and abuse from unruly passengers.

And they say that CCTV cameras in the entire fleet would go some way to making them feel safer at work.

The claims come after a teenager was robbed of his mobile phone on board a bus travelling through Warwick on Wednesday night.

And this incident followed an attack on a bus driver last Thursday.

Last night Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell described the incidents as ‘unacceptable’ and insisted measures to improve safety and security were being taken.

But one bus driver, who spoken on condition of anonymity, said: “We are dealing with a lot of bad stuff these days and we just do not have the protection we need.

“Many operators have been assaulted and nothing has been done about it.

“We have had incidents where guys have followed the bus and waited for it to stop before getting on board to attack a passenger.

“And some passengers are using buses to transport weapons as well as drugs across the island.”

The driver called on authorities to help implement a camera system on the entire fleet of buses that was monitored 24/7 by the police.

The driver added: “We need cameras in all the buses – not just the new ones that are just coming into service.

“This is a serious situation and it’s a challenge on the roads at the moment.

“It’s got to the point where we just don’t know what is going to come at us during a shift.

“We also need panic buttons that are directly linked to police stations so officers can be dispatched at the first sign of trouble.”

Last night police revealed that a suspect had been arrested in connection with the robbery on the bus in Warwick.

While last week a 23-year-old Southampton man was detained in connection with the attack on a bus driver on January 9.

The driver who was behind the wheel during Wednesday night’s robbery added: “Nothing surprises me any more.

“And many drivers feel that the Department of Public Transportation just do not have our backs.

“I have been driving for six years and it is getting worse.

“We take a lot of abuse from badly behaved children as well as adults.

“There does not seem to be any respect for the position we have any more.

“And we need someone to fight our corner and improve the safety measures we have in place on the vehicles.”

Minister Crockwell said: “As the Minister responsible for public transport these incidents trouble me greatly.

“The safety of our bus operators is the number one priority at the Department of Public Transportation and we are taking measures to improve their safety and security.

“These measures include the installation of security cameras on new buses that are arriving on island.”