Last year, staff at the Walloon public transport company TEC faced almost three times more aggression cases than in 2015. Staff in the Liège-Verviers region spontaneously stopped work last week after several cases of aggression—the strike continuous today.
Between 2015 and 2023, the number of cases of aggression on Walloon public transport rose from 56 to 150. As a result of these various cases of aggression, 15 full-time drivers were sent on sick leave last year. “That’s 15 fewer drivers to do the job, respect schedules, etc.,” said Stéphane Thiery, TEC communications director in the newspaper Le Soir.
Not only youngsters
The TEC offers are more significant today compared to 2015, so a statistical increase makes sense, but the phenomenon is beyond doubt. Also striking: the attacks no longer take place only where there are the most buses and the most people, i.e., in urban centers.
The various cases of aggression do not come only from young people. “There is also a relative share of attacks, but rather verbal, by people in the 45 to 60 age group,” Thiery said.
After talks with several police zones, mayors, and judicial authorities, several proposals have already been made to reduce the number of incidents: the installation of cameras at the most problematic bus stops, the revision of procedures to better identify incidents, better visibility of the police in the files, the presence of police officers on board the vehicles or a joint commitment within the concerned cities, for example, to fight against violence.