Call for national bus driver day for slain Manmeet Alisher
THE CALL has gone out for a national bus driver appreciation day to honour former Ipswich bus driver Manmeet Alisher after his tragic death last week.
Mr Alisher drove school buses for Westside Bus Company across Ipswich before he was killed in a horrific attack in Moorooka while driving buses for Brisbane Transport.
His loss has hit the Ipswich community hard and bus drivers throughout the city are distraught.
The call for a national day of honour went out from Westside Bus Company service delivery team leader Krystle Mario who asked Mayor Paul Pisasale if he could push for the commemoration.
Cr Pisasale said he would back Ms Mario's call.
"We have teacher appreciation days and other days like that but we would love to be able to host a bus driver appreciation day in honour of Manmeet," Ms Mario said.
"Bus drivers can often get taken for granted in the community and a lot of people look down on their work.
"But they are such an integral part of the community and especially in the Ipswich community which is such a small world.
"I think the bus drivers know the members of the public more than anyone else.
"They have such a good rapport with a lot of the public as well and they just get beaten down and trodden on far too often."
Ms Mario had earlier told the QT how much Mr Alisher was valued by his customers and co-workers for his friendliness, vibrant personality and caring nature.
Cr Pisasale received Ms Mario's request for a special day on his Facebook page and said he would lobby for the special day.
"I thank Krystle for her suggestion and I am going to bring it up with the Council of Mayors and discuss it with the state government," Cr Pisasale says.
"We have to do more to show how much we appreciate people like Manmeet who spend their time serving the public at the front line. That is why I think it is appropriate to have a national day to say 'thank you'."
Ms Mario said she was putting forward the idea of a special day "even if it was just an Ipswich community thing to remind the public the bus drivers are doing such a good service for us".
Cr Cheryl Bromage, who was present at the flag lowering ceremony at Ipswich City Council's administration building on Wednesday in honour of Mr Alisher, said bus drivers had spoken to her about how they feel "very vulnerable driving".
"They are out there on their own and they have no other support apart from members of the public who can come to their aid if there is a problem on those buses," she said.
"They have expressed their concern about some of the penalties when they are attacked because they feel some of that doesn't reflect what happens to them on a daily basis. It is very sad what has occurred to (Mr Alisher) and I know the drivers are devastated.
"The drivers get to see the best and the worst of the community. But they don't know what is going to happen when they stop and open those doors."