Passengers rescue bus driver from violent attack
A BUS driver allegedly assaulted by a man who refused to pay a fare is full of praise for passengers who stood up for him and made a citizen's arrest of the man.
But Matthew Satterly, a Brisbane City Council driver for 12 years, says the council has not done enough to protect drivers, with new security screens providing little protection from assaults.
Mr Satterly said he suffered some hearing loss and had facial bruising after he was allegedly hit in the face by the man, who has been charged with assault occasioning bodily harm.
He has been on sick leave since the incident, which occurred during afternoon peak hour last July on Logan Rd, Coorparoo.
Mr Satterly, 44, said on the day he was allegedly assaulted he had let several people who said they had no money on his bus, including students and homeless people.
But he said it was the rude, aggressive attitude of the young man, who told him he had no money and insisted that he get over it and "drive on'', that made him refuse to take him.
"I tried to explain to him that he needed to pay, but he was adamant that he didn't have to pay, that he wasn't going far,'' Mr Satterly said.
To make matters worse, a Brisbane City Council employee on the bus intervened, telling Mr Satterly that he had handled the situation badly and he was going to report him.
It was only after four female passengers on the full bus came to Mr Satterly's defence, siding with him for refusing to take the man for free, that the council employee agreed the man should get off.
Three male passengers on the packed bus chased the man, grabbed him and brought him back to the bus and held him until police arrived.
"I think they're all great,'' Mr Satterly said of the passengers who stood up for him and those who chased the alleged assailant.
"They all said they're fed up. They are just average people going to work and coming home, doing the right thing, paying for their fare.''
Mr Satterly, who previously has had passengers spit in his face and throw coins at him, had only been back at work for three months, after 18 months off on sick leave.
He said he had previously suffered a nervous breakdown on a bus, and the latest incident brought back bad memories.
Tram, Rail and Bus Union spokesman Tom Brown said: "Matt is just one of 57 BCC bus drivers (attacked) last year, yet the Lord Mayor (Adrian Schrinner) thinks that his half-measured safety screens will save drivers.
"The statistics tell a very different story, with more than 650 reported incidents of unacceptable or anti-social behaviour reported by drivers last year.''
The man who allegedly assaulted Mr Satterly is due to appear in a Brisbane court this week.