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Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Please attribute to Detective Senior Sergeant Phil Cox, Auckland City Police

Police have arrested and charged a man following a violent and unprovoked attack on a bus driver in Waterview late last night.

Police were called about 10.20pm to Great North Road after a passenger on the bus allegedly started attacking the driver – dragging him from his seat to the aisle striking him multiple times.

The driver was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

The victim is now in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

The attacker then fled but Police were able to swiftly locate him and he was arrested and taken into custody.

A 27-year-old man has been charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possession of a knife in a public place. He is due to appear in the Auckland District Court today.

Detective Senior Sergeant Phil Cox says this was an appalling act of violence on one of the community’s essential workers, who was just going about their job. This was completely unacceptable, he says.

Sadly, this was the second time the victim had been assaulted while working in the past month. On August 29, the driver had also been assaulted on Railside Avenue in Henderson.

Three youths had been referred to Youth Aid in relation to that matter.

Police have been offering support to the driver and his family through Victim Support and will continue that support after this latest incident.

Police will be further increasing their patrols and visibility on and around buses to ensure the safety of bus drivers. Police will also continue to work closely with Auckland Transport on this issue. 

Last week Police and Auckland Transport issued a plea for people to treat drivers with the respect they deserve after a spate of assaults and abuse incidents over the past few months.

From August 1 to September 17, there were 35 reported incidents involving abuse or aggression towards Auckland’s bus drivers – despite low patronage due to Alert Level 4.

Adriana Weber/NZ Police