A First bus driver says he wants to leave the profession after two attacks in Bristol in the past fortnight saw him subjected to ‘homophobic abuse’ before a brick was thrown at his vehicle by a moped rider.
George Gwilliams said he was left ‘in shock’ when a brick was chucked at the front window of the Service 2 he was driving through Stockwood last night (Thursday, April 21).
The 24-year-old told BristolWorld: “I was coming down towards Sturminster Road at around 20 miles an hour, and the next thing I knew there was a massive bang followed by the sound of glass shattering.
“As I parked up round the corner, a moped whizzed past me, and I was later told by police that the moped was linked to similar attacks.
“I ended up going home because I don’t get paid enough to have bricks thrown at me.
“This is the second time I’ve been attacked in two weeks. The week before, I went off sick after a man threw homophobic abuse at me and hit the doors and mirror just because I was a few minutes’ late.”
George, who has been a bus driver for two years, said he is so fed up of attacks and mistreatment from passengers that he says he is thinking of becoming an HGV driver instead.
It comes at a time when First Bus are already struggling with driver shortages, forcing the firm to make sweeping changes and cuts to 25 of its services which will come into force on Sunday.
George added: “My colleagues at the Bristol depot have been supportive. But bus drivers in Bristol are just seen as scum.
“My message would be, please just scan your ticket and sit down. We’re not asking you to throw us a birthday party.
“Please stay behind the line on the floor so the driver can see the mirror and park at the stop safely.
“Please don’t abuse us if we’re late. There are many reasons why that will have happened, and I promise we’re not arriving late for a laugh.”
Earlier this month, a Metrobus driver said he was driving an m1 along the Portway towards Cribbs Causeway when one of the vehicle’s windows was shattered.
What First Bus said
A spokesperson for First West of England said:“We can confirm that this incident happened. The most important thing is that no one was injured, although our driver was naturally upset at what occurred.
“In the immediate aftermath the passengers were transferred safely onto another vehicle so they could complete their journeys.
“This incident has now been reported to the police and we will assist them in any way we can in their investigation. The wellbeing of our colleagues and passengers is our number one priority and we take any aggression towards them extremely seriously.
“We would like to apologise to passengers for disruptions to their journeys and thankfully these types of incidents are few and far between.”