Bus smashing reports continue
After projectiles being launched at Lothian Buses’ fleet caused the operator to cease services after 7.30pm last night, the Greater Manchester TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) has now made similar reports of objects being thrown at buses.
The TSP is taking swift action, reviewing footage to identify those involved and using combined operator intelligence to target patrols in the areas where incidents are most likely to occur.
With most attacks believed to involve teenage youths, the TSP is also carrying out educational work in targeted schools, using driver interviews to reinforce the human impact of the incidents.
Since the turn of the year, the TSP has recorded 49 separate incidents of criminal damage to buses, with many being a result of various objects, including bricks, baseball bats and scooters thrown at moving vehicles.
The latest incident, which took place yesterday evening on the Bridgehall Estate in Stockport, saw a missile thrown through the window of the 328 Stagecoach service, hitting the driver on the back of the head.
In another incident a bus driver required medical attention after he was hit by glass smashed by a missile thrown from the side of the road, while operators have also reported incidents of passengers being injured.
The attacks on vehicles have resulted in services being diverted or withdrawn from certain routes.
The TSP has also recorded 62 incidents of criminal damage to Manchester’s Metrolink network.
“Unless we can work with the community to put a stop to these dangerous acts of vandalism we will have no choice but to remove services when incidents occur” – Matt Rawlinson, Diamond Bus North West Deputy Managing Director
Matt Rawlinson, Diamond Bus North West Deputy Managing Director, said: “As a local bus company, like many other businesses, we are struggling to recover from the financial impact of Covid-19 but we are positive about growing bus services in Greater Manchester and we have continued with our £3.6 million investment in new vehicles.
“The safety of our staff and customers is not a position we want to be in but unless we can work with the community to put a stop to these dangerous acts of vandalism we will have no choice but to remove services when incidents occur.”
Stagecoach Managing Director, Lee Wasnidge, said: “The safety and wellbeing of our staff and customers is always our absolute priority. These irresponsible incidents can be both dangerous and distressing to anyone involved. We are working closely with TravelSafe partners to prevent these incidents and identify those responsible.”
Lothian Buses has confirmed that all evening services will resume tonight (18 March).
All services after 1930hrs on Lothian Buses, Lothian Country and East Coast Buses will operate tonight with increased police presence on the ground.
“The support from businesses, stakeholders and our customers has been overwhelming” – Sarah Boyd, Operations Director, Lothian
Sarah Boyd, Operations Director, Lothian, said: “Lothian remain committed to supporting local communities and those keyworkers that require travel during these difficult times. Despite a small number of antisocial incidents last night, all of our evening services will resume tonight as scheduled.
“Working in partnership with Police Scotland, we will continue to monitor services closely and will not hesitate to take any action in any area that record acts of antisocial behaviour directed towards our drivers or our vehicles.
“The support from businesses, stakeholders and our customers has been overwhelming and I would like to thank you all for your understanding and the appreciation you have shown to our drivers. After a difficult year, it is heartening to see the city come together to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both our colleagues and our customers.”