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Police Called After Anti-social Incidents Against Essential Workers

Auckland Transport is appalled at two incidents in recent days involving attacks on staff and a contractor.

AT chief executive Shane Ellison says there have been two separate incidents where essential workers have been spat at. “We have staff working day and night to keep public transport operating and it’s distressing when they come under attack from members of the public.”

In an incident on a train this morning, three AT transport officers were spat at by a woman. “A couple were joy-riding on our trains and were told to get off. As they were being escorted from the train, a female spat at three of our staff. Two men and a woman have had to be stood down as a result of this incident and have gone into isolation. This behaviour is totally unacceptable. The incident was caught on CCTV and the police now have that footage.”

Mr Ellison says there was also a similar incident on Wednesday night involving a security guard working for AT. “This man was spat at by a member of the public and again the police were called.

“Our staff and contractors are out there in all weathers ensuring that essential workers can get to their jobs and we cannot tolerate this sort of behaviour. We are working with the police to ensure that our staff can do their job without being assaulted.

“It’s quite disturbing that a few people are acting like idiots, we’ve been getting some great feedback about the efforts that we have been making to get people around the city in these tough times but to have incidents like this is quite upsetting.”

During Alert Level 4 Auckland Transport is maintaining a weekend service on all public transport with physical distancing. Public transport is free and is only to be used by essential workers and people going to medical appointments or doing shopping.

Mayor Phil Goff says, “That sort of behaviour is disgusting at any time, but at a time with COVID-19 its also dangerous behaviour. The individuals should face the full penalties under the law and I have no doubt that the police will be taking this matter very seriously.

“Our thanks go to our essential transport staff and all of the key workers across Auckland and New Zealand who are working tirelessly at some risk to their personal safety to ensure that the services we all rely on can continue to function throughout the lockdown.”

Go to Auckland Transport’s COVID-19 site: https://at.govt.nz/covid-19/

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