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Bus drivers racially abused, threatened by teenagers

Tauranga bus drivers are facing racial abuse and death threats from local school boys hanging out at the city's transport hub, First Union says.

A file photo shows the interior of a bus.
Photo: 123RF

Bay of Plenty Regional council says there's been vandalism of buses and public facilities as well as threats of violence directed at the public.

Today the council met with Tauranga Boys College, and says college staff are making regular visits to the Willow Street bus interchange after school to talk to students gathering there.

Police have also increased patrols in the area.

"We've got some really bad antisocial behaviors down in the CBD of Tauranga... There's a select clique of school boys from Tauranga Boys College," First Union organiser Graham McKean told Checkpoint.

"They've been destroying the local toilets, that's been broken twice now. Buses have been broken into and graffitied.

"The drivers are being racially abused and one of the drivers has had death threats against him," McKean said.

"They're feeling intimidated, bullied, harassed. The Indian and Korean drivers are suffering a lot of racial profiling and abuse as's something that happens to them on a daily basis."

The group is made up of about 20 teenage boys in school uniform who are passengers on the buses, he said.

"They're known to the college, they're known to the police. They're known to the council. It's not a new thing. It's something that's been happening for a period of time and it doesn't seem to have been resolved."

McKean understands that RTD bottles have been found in the toilet blocks and the children have been seen drinking alcohol.

"It just triggers levels of mayhem."

He said the union hopes the stakeholder groups and the community will come together and look at protecting the bus drivers, the local store owners and the public.

"The discussion I'm having with the drivers is they don't want to go through there, they want me to call a health and safety strike and all the First Union members not to stop there but go further down and away from that area."