Translink offer £1,000 reward to catch road rage thug who assaulted bus driver
Translink is offering a £1,000 reward in connection with a road rage incident in which a man assaulted one of its drivers through the window of his bus.
Police are investigating after a BMW driver assaulted the public transport employee last Saturday while he was in charge of the Goldline 273 Omagh to Belfast service.
The driver of the black car forced the bus onto the hard shoulder of the M1 and tried to pull the Translink employee through the bus window.
The worker told bosses he was overtaking a lorry in the inside lane when he checked his wing mirror and saw no traffic in the outside lane except for the black BMW in the distance.
He completed his manoeuvre and then at Junction 10 of the motorway near Lurgan the car driver ran over and grabbed the bus driver through the window and assaulted him.
Unite union official David McMurray said: "It escalated even further.
"The driver pulled the car over and waited for the bus driver.
"Fortunately he didn't have to stop and that was the end of the incident."
The Unite regional officer for public transport in Northern Ireland told the Belfast Telegraph the man responsible was a "thug" and said the Goldline driver had been left "very badly shaken" by the ordeal.
"He has bruising around his neck and marks on his face," Mr McMurray said.
"He has carried on working and is having flashbacks every time he goes to Junction 10.
"He feels uncomfortable driving the stretch of road."
Mr McMurray added: "Police have the licence number and CCTV footage.
"We are just wondering, almost a week after, why the guy is walking the streets.
"If the driver knew this guy was being dealt with, it would make him feel a whole lot better." The PSNI confirmed it received a report on April 18 regarding an incident eastbound on the M1 motorway close to Junction 10.
A police spokesman said: "This is still very much a live investigation and enquiries are ongoing to progress as quickly as possible."
A Translink spokeswoman said it would like passengers with information to come forward.
"CCTV of the incident has been shared with the PSNI, who are currently investigating. We take incidents of assault against our employees extremely seriously and would remind passengers if they are willing to go to court to give evidence that helps to secure a conviction, we will offer a cash reward of up to £1,000."
Mr McMurray claimed assaults on Translink staff "happen all too often" and called for a ban from buses and trains for those convicted of attacks.
"There are more and more assaults on front line staff in Translink," he said.
"If you were a bus driver and I assaulted you and you wanted to come back on my bus, I must pick you up. I think anyone caught attacking public transport workers should be banned from public transport.
"The number of assaults that don't come to media attention is phenomenal.
"Over the years we have had drivers having their buses turned into mobile bombs, attacked with screwdrivers and hammers, and windscreens getting bricked is quite common."