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Author Topic: Article: Safety a daily gamble for commuters and Metro staff  (Read 1072 times)

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From the Herald Sun  click here!

Safety a daily gamble for commuters and Metro staff

Safety a daily gamble for commuters and Metro staff

    * Ashley Gardiner
    * From: Herald Sun
    * June 08, 2010 12:00AM

COMMUTERS and Metro staff come under direct physical threat from hooligans an average of 10 times a week.

A lack of security on the train network has been blamed for out-of-control bad behaviour that is making life hell for law-abiding commuters.

A three-month snapshot of incidents on the train network has revealed 126 cases of out-of-control thugs and louts wreaking havoc.

The Public Transport Safety Victoria incident log, from October to December last year, was obtained by the State Opposition under Freedom of Information laws.

It shows Ringwood station had the most serious incidents (9), followed by Flinders St (8), Thomastown (7), and Bayswater and Dandenong (6).

An incident at Ringwood on November 26 illustrates why commuters are under siege.

"As soon as police (were) sighted, youths (harassing passengers) disappear until police depart; (then) youths come straight back," an incident report says.

Crime on the railways is in the spotlight after a teenage gang attacked a train at McKinnon.

Tim Redmond, 29, was seriously hurt when he stepped in as thugs with broken bottles menaced a man.

Mr Redmond is recovering in hospital.

Passenger Paul Taylor questioned Metro's handling of the incident, saying passengers had been left to fend for themselves.

"There was one guy who had a major cut on his head and also had been struck on the back of his head with a bottle," Mr Taylor said on ABC radio.

"He caught the train all the way to Frankston.

"There was no co-ordinated effort. We actually bandaged his head with a scarf," he said.

It is believed that police have since identified a number of the assailants.

Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said Premier John Brumby was continuing to bury his head in the sand.

"John Brumby should immediately adopt the Coalition's policy of placing two Victoria Police Protective Services Officers at every metropolitan and major regional railway station, seven days a week," Mr Mulder said.

"Many of these attacks are random. They will continue until preventative measures commence.

"Swallow your pride, Premier, and adopt another Coalition policy: 940 PSOs for Victoria's railway stations to prevent violent attacks on rail travellers."

But Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula rejected the idea yesterday.

"It is better to have station staff that can do more than simply stand as guards after six o'clock at night," he said.

"The record of safety on trains has been good and (is) getting better.

"With a large increase in patronage on train services, there has been a decrease at the same time in the amount of criminal activity on trains," Mr Pakula said.
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