Metlink joins chorus of councils saying 'think before you type'

Staff & Operators Customers & Communities

An abusive message punched into a keyboard can have just as much impact as a punch to the gut, is the gist of a new video featuring real staff from Metlink and local government organisations encouraging people to think before they type in a bid to end online abuse.

Spearheaded by Hamilton City Council, the video features staff from councils and public transport authorities across Aotearoa New Zealand reading abusive messages they’ve received through social media channels. The video was released on Pink Shirt Day to shine a light on online bullying, which is a harsh reality for many people in public-facing roles.    

In Aotearoa, Pink Shirt Day works to create schools, workplaces, communities and whānau where everyone feels safe, valued and respected.

Metlink general manager Scott Gallacher says Pink Shirt Day is an opportunity to bring attention to bullying, check our own behaviour, and commit to being kinder to one another moving forward.     

“We are proud to get on board with Hamilton City Council’s initiative, which is all about reminding us to have compassion in our online interactions. Anyone who has worked for a public-facing organisation can relate to receiving online abuse and threats. But the fact that it’s so common doesn’t make it ok. It’s bullying, and bullying is never ok.

“The reality is that every single message we receive through our online channels is read by a real person. When someone writes ‘f*** you’ or ‘go die’, it’s hard not to take personally. It can take a real toll on people’s mental health, and it’s never necessary or appropriate.”

Mr Gallacher says working to deliver an efficient and reliable public transport network for Wellingtonians is what gets Metlink staff out of bed each morning, and social media is an invaluable way to stay connected with passengers.

“We genuinely love hearing from Wellingtonians about how we can make public transport work better for them, so keep the messages coming - just remember that there’s a real person on the receiving end,” adds Mr Gallacher.

Watch the video produced by Hamilton City Council and featuring Metlink staff.(external link)

Public transport users can also expect to see pink shirts light up Metlink buses, trains and ferries today as operators rally together to celebrate Pink Shirt Day, with support from Metlink.

Find out more information on Pink Shirt Day.(external link)