independent

Thursday 23 January 2020

Bus driver tells of assaults and abuse

Bernadette Doyle at the wheel of the Bus Eireann bus from Wexford to Dublin Airport
Bernadette Doyle at the wheel of the Bus Eireann bus from Wexford to Dublin Airport

Pádraig Byrne

A female bus driver with Bus Eireann has spoken out over the regular verbal and physical abuse she says she suffers while driving her route between Wexford and Dublin airport. Bernadette Doyle has stated that in the past year she has been robbed, assaulted and had a tooth knocked out and has been subjected to racial abuse on a near weekly basis.

Although she grew up in London, Bernadette's mother is originally from Wexford and she returned to Ireland to live in Crossabeg back in 2009. Having driven buses in the UK for a number of years, she began working with Bus Eireann and regularly covers the route to Dublin airport, often travelling late at night.

On Thursday, Bernadette shared a video which shows the extent of some of the abuse she says she's suffering on a regular basis. On this occasion, a man got on her Wexford-bound bus at around 12.30 a.m. on Thursday morning and subjected her to a torrent of abuse.

He refused to leave the bus when asked and delayed passengers for a total of around 35 minutes until gardaí were called. 'Back to England with you, you f***ing Brexit looking motherf***er. Get the f*** out of this country, you c***!' the irate man shouted, referencing Ms Doyle's accent.

He then turned on passengers who asked him to stop delaying the bus and leave.

'I've lived in this country 36 years of my life,' he said.

'I've travelled up and down to Wexford for 20 of them years. Ok? So snap the f*** out of it. I know Irish people. This man and that woman are not Irish and you are not either, so don't f***ing tell me about Ireland, okay?'

Upon realising he was being filmed, the man turns to the camera and says: ''Oh please stick this sh** up on YouTube. It deserves to be up there. Hey, YouTube, Bus Eireann are f***ing c***s!'

Ms Doyle says that were it not for a colleague of hers, another driver who she was dropping back to Arklow, things could have been a lot worse.

'This is an extremely regular occurrence,' said Bernadette.

'I was assaulted back in May and had a tooth knocked out. I was robbed in February. I'm subjected to racial abuse on a near weekly basis and called a "tan" and told to "go home".'

Gardaí are said to be working on the assault case from May. In another incident, Bernadette tells of an irate passenger attempting to grab the steering wheel of her bus while she was driving at 80 km/h between Ferns and Enniscorthy.

'Bus Eireann haven't really done much about it,' she said.

'They haven't even contacted me. There's an emergency button on the bus which I had pressed on this occasion, but we had to ring the gardaí ourselves and wait nearly 35 minutes for them to turn up and take the man off the bus.'

'The union has called for protective screens to be introduced as a security measure for drivers, but I don't think there's been any response.'

Ms Doyle says that she is not the only one subjected to such abuse and that a colleague of hers from Sudan is also regularly subjected to appalling racism.

Following this most recent incident, gardaí eventually arrived on the scene and arrested the man, who had significantly delayed the dozen passengers on board.

Despite being subjected to such frequent abuse, Ms Doyle remains relatively upbeat and doesn't appear to let it get her down too much.

'Gardaí did say they'd be in touch in the New Year about this latest incident,' she said.

'But I don't know if I'll go any further with it. My phone was damaged and he did grab my arm, but I don't know if it's worth the hassle.'

'You wouldn't actually believe the amount of abuse that drivers are subjected to though.'

Wexford People

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