Threat To Passenger Transport Workers

Incidents of violence and abuse against passenger transport staff is increasing according to multiple reports published in the past 12 months. Many of these drivers and workers – employed within the train, bus, tram and underground networks – are working alone, so at risk from verbal and physical attack, without any immediate support.

There are many thousands of transport workers providing a vital service to the public every day who face constant threats to their wellbeing:

  • At the beginning of 2020, Transport for London (TfL) reported that attacks on Tube, bus and Docklands Light Railway staff were on the increase. Annual assaults had risen by nearly 25%, from 505 to 628, in the previous three years, with those involving a blade were up 84%, from 19 to 35.
  • A survey by transport union RMT also found that a massive 72% of frontline transport workers had experienced workplace violence in the previous year, with 90% of these subjected to violence on multiple occasions.
  • In June, it was revealed that bus drivers in London had suffered at least 60 cases of being spat at since the COVID lockdown began, while in Scotland, British Transport Police revealed there had been 55 Covid-related crimes on Scotland’s railways including incidents of staff being deliberately coughed or spat at.

In the last few months alone there has been a huge number of incidents reported in the local media that highlight the ongoing threat to workers across the passenger transport network. These include:

A bus driver in Bournemouth was hit with a beer can and kicked on the floor by a passenger who attempted to board without wearing a face mask.

A train guard was verbally abused and a bottle thrown at him by a drunken passenger at Bradford-on-Avon railway station.

A bus driver was subjected to abuse and left petrified in Heysham, Lancashire, with missiles thrown at her bus and the top deck set on fire.

A man attempting to travel with no ticket at Wembley Central railway station abused and assaulted a member of rail staff working at the gates.

A man violently attacked a railway worker at Sheffield train station who asked if they could see his ticket.

A bus driver suffered minor injuries after an attack that took place at Nuneaton bus station.

Public transport operators have a legal duty to promote safety at work to ensure drivers and workers are protected and the risks they face are minimised. They should be able to work safely in the knowledge that they can request immediate assistance should they need it, wherever they are.

Peoplesafe is the market-leading lone worker service, trusted by over 2,500 organisations in the UK to protect their at-risk employees. Our solution provides transport drivers and workers with peace of mind that support is always on hand if they are attacked, threatened or injured. On average, raised alerts are answered by a controller at our 24/7 Alarm Receiving Centre in under six seconds.

To find out more or to speak with one of our experienced consultants get in touch now.