Teenagers scratch, spit on Auckland bus driver after pretending to tap on ride

Auckland bus driver attacked.
Auckland bus driver attacked. Photo credit: Image - Newshub

An Auckland bus driver has been attacked by three teenagers who caused serious injuries to his face, with one of the attackers attempting to spit on him. 

The 69-year-old bus driver who wanted to stay anonymous got involved in a tussle with two girls and one boy - aged 14 and 15 years old - before he managed to shove them off the bus and call the police.  

The incident left the driver with blood streaming down his face and cuts all over his head, according to NZ Herald. 

This isn’t the first time that the 69-year-old has been attacked at work. Over the past couple of years, the former policeman and NZ Army soldier has been assaulted three times during his shift. 

During his most recent incident, the driver picked up the passengers in Henderson at about 8:30am on Sunday. Three passengers got on board and mouthed the sound of the swipe card being used pretending to pay.  

"I turned to them and said they need to tag on and they got abusive," the 69-year-old said according to NZ Herald. "I said I didn't want them on my bus because of their attitude and it just deteriorated from there."

The three teenagers then attacked the driver in a "vicious" way, with one of the girls trying to "gouge out my eyes" while one of the girls attempted to spit on him.

"It turns out, there were two females and a male, and one of the females was very stroppy and tried to claw my eyes out,” he says. "All three of them got involved and we had a bit of a tussle there.

"One female was definitely using her nails to try and gouge out my eyes, yes."

The driver was appalled by the behaviour of the teenagers and was left stunned by the incident. 

"What I do have a problem with is people being abusive and rude,” the 69-year-old says. "This girl said that she was going to give me COVID-19 and went to spit at me, even though she was wearing a mask I could hear her gathering the phlegm in her throat."

The driver managed to use his body weight to push the three teenagers off the bus so he could call the police. 

Police responded immediately to the incident and were at the scene with a chopper within minutes, the driver says.

A police spokesperson confirmed they were contacted at 8.42pm about an assault which occurred on Railside Ave, Henderson. 

"Two females and one male were apprehended by police and have been referred to Youth Aid."

The driver was alarmed by the society he lives in that people could attack someone as viciously as they did.

"It's disturbing that people think they can abuse bus drivers when we are providing a service to people, and they think it's okay to be abusive and rude,” he says. "We have a sick society, I think."

Stacey van der Putten, group manager of AT's Metro Services, said bus drivers were essential workers and it wasn't acceptable that anyone should be attacked while at work. 

"Auckland Transport is working with our transport officers and the police to try to deter any unsocial behaviour that our drivers are being subjected to. 

"We are grateful that police attended so swiftly last night. Our drivers are doing an amazing job under alert level 4 in keeping public transport operating to support those that need to undertake essential travel only. 

"They all deserve our support and appreciation for the role they play within our community."