Tauranga bus robberies prompt calls to remove cash

File photo/SunLive.

Bus drivers have been indecently assaulted, punched and robbed in Tauranga in recent weeks, prompting a call to remove cash fares to improve safety.

FIRST Union says in the last six weeks four bus drivers have been assaulted, two indecently, and multiple robberies of the till and personal items have been reported.

“It’s scared the drivers,” he says.

“One was punched and kicked by a school-ager.

“They are wearing bandannas and face coverings while trying to take the till float from the busses.

“We believe the (alleged) robbers may be gang prospects. We’re pushing to have cash removed from busses to prevent drivers from becoming targets.”

His call comes shortly after shopkeepers in Gate Pa also requested a harsher line taken by police as gangs of school girls use standover tactics to intimidate shopkeepers and conduct organised shoplifting raids.

One shopkeeper was punched and pushed by the group of girls.

A bus driver, who asked not to be named, says drivers have been told to skip bus stops if they see suspicious teenagers.

“We’ve identified a few of them..

“There is no reason to go looking for trouble. They never have fares anyway.”

NZBUS chief operating manager Jay Zmijewski says they have given support to their drives and are workshopping safety improvements.

He says options, including removing cash fares, are being discussed to improve driver safety.

“We’re working with the council and police to address the matter as we don’t want our drivers to be subjected to these types of incidents.".

Western Bay of Plenty Police Area Response Manager Senior Sergeant Eddie Lyttle says police have been made aware of three incidents involving public transport in Tauranga.

Eddie says they are taking the assaults and robberies seriously and have increased patrols in the area.

-Stuff/Matt Shand

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@This Guy

Posted on 07-10-2020 12:55 | By morepork

I didn’t actually advocate JUST more Police; I honestly believe the community has to show that we won’t tolerate this. However, I take your point that the underlying causes also need to be addressed, and I don’t see that as being mutually exclusive from what I suggested. There ARE existing programs (like Kids Can and Graeme Dingle) which I vehemently support, and they are designed to get to kids "before the gangs do". We should certainly increase support for these actions, but we ALSO need to send the clear message that "easy money" by threatening people is not on offer. I don’t support a Police State any more than you do, even if we have a generally trustworthy Police Force, as we do.


Posted on 06-10-2020 15:18 | By This Guy

How about instead of just turning into a police state we could actually invest in social programs that can help these at risk kids and get to them before the gangs do... "adding more police everywhere" is treating the symptoms and not the underlying cause.

This is insane.

Posted on 06-10-2020 13:43 | By morepork

The problem is not cash on buses, it is the fact that people are getting away with intimidation, be it on buses or in shops. It needs to be made very clear that such intimidation will not succeed. If it is gang based, police need to visit the gang HQ and send a clear message. There needs to be more random police patrols for shops and security agents on buses, until the lawless element realize this is not just "easy money"... If it is allowed to succeed, it will increase. Why did nobody on the bus assist these drivers? Were they targeted when the bus was mostly empty? Shop keepers should be able to sound a loud alarm when they are being threatened so that people can come to their assistance. The COMMUNITY has to show it won’t accept this kind of crime.

Bus safety

Posted on 05-10-2020 13:06 | By mlow

Put an undercover cop on random buses!! Give it a week and you wouldnt have a problem!!

Tom Ranger

Posted on 05-10-2020 12:30 | By

Only way I could see it working is to Remove money. Put an enclosed foyer inside the doors. Like in some banks. Put the card scanners on the outside of the bus so the doors only open if someone has paid with their bus card. That would mean one person gets on at a time. With the external door closing behind them before the internal door opens. With the Bus driver confirming the process is and has been followed before they press a button allowing the internal door to open. In the event of an emergency exit. Break glass or have another dedicated door to exit. Even better... Get rid of the stupid busses and bus lanes taking up our valuable real-estate from other vehicles.

Softly softly

Posted on 05-10-2020 08:23 | By

What do we expect when thugs, even if they are caught, get away with a slap with a wet bus ticket! i.e. a family conference or some other such nonsense. What do we expect when we allow gangs to strut about like they own the place? NZ is so soft on crime and thuggery. Also, I have been on buses a few times and on almost every occasion some low life gets on with no money and gets a free ride - no doubt the drivers do this to avoid aggro. So even if you get rid of the cash, scumbags still get free travel due to intimidation. Best to just get rid of the buses altogether and they can go back to robbing dairies, NZs other favourite sport.