Saturday, 10 September 2011

Cairns Sunbus drivers threaten to boycott 'dangerous' street

Laura Packham
Saturday, September 10, 2011
© The Cairns Post

It's too dangerous: Sunbus drivers have called for a boycott of Murray St
after a series of rock-throwing incidents and robberies.

Bus drivers were last night locked in a dispute with Sunbus, threatening to boycott a dangerous Cairns St from their nightly route after a series of robberies and rock-throwing incidents.

The latest rock-throwing incident happened on Murray St on Wednesday, when a large stone hit the windscreen of a bus full of passengers. The drivers of eight Sunbuses last night threatened an indefinite after-hours ban along Murray St, Manoora, until their safety demands were met.

The demands included: better street lighting, protective shatter-proof screens and security guards on night routes. But Sunbus’s parent company, Transit Australia Group said there was no evidence the route posed a risk and instructed drivers to continue to use Murray St.

"At this stage, we don’t believe there is a problem in Murray St," general manager Megan Harkin said. "We do have rock throwing from time to time in Cairns but haven’t had a problem reported from the street over the past six weeks."

Murray St residents welcomed the boycott threat and called for the street’s bus stops to be removed. Mother-of-two Miheo Terey said she had been complaining to Cairns Regional Council for more than a year about the anti-social problems in her neighbourhood.

"It’s not a safe street, everyone knows it’s Murray St, you know," she said. Other residents, who wished to remain anonymous, said the area was not safe to walk after dark. Transport Workers Union Queensland branch spokeswoman Janine Aitken said drivers had simply had enough.

Unfortunately, it’s not safe being a bus driver in Cairns," she said. "So we’re taking action before serious injury or even fatalities occur."The branch called for anyone found throwing rocks at buses to be charged with attempted murder.

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