Lothian to pull all services due to anti-social behaviour
Lothian Buses intends to withdraw all services from 7.30pm tonight following months of incidents of antisocial behaviour. This will include all services operating on Lothian Buses, Lothian Country and East Coast Buses.
Edinburgh’s NightBus services are expected to operate as normal.
Lothian has said that services are expected to return as scheduled on Thursday 18 March but will be kept under review with services diverted away from any area targeted by further attacks until it is safe to return.
The move follows reports of vandals throwing bricks and other projectiles at the operator’s buses.
Edinburgh Police Division has been working with Lothian Buses as part of Operation Proust to tackle youth disorder directed at Lothian Buses’ fleet.
Five youths from across the city have been identified and charged for bus related offences. Police officers have also engaged with over 100 young people and spoken to them about the dangers associated with throwing objects at buses.
Sergeant Grant Robertson said: “We will continue our efforts to tackle this issue and work closely with our partners. We ask parents and guardians to speak to children under their care about the dangers associated with throwing objects at buses, tampering with the engine compartment and holding onto the rear of the buses while both stationery and in motion. This behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
“Driver and customer safety is our absolute priority and so it is with deep regret that we have to take this action” – Sarah Boyd, Lothian’s Operations Director
Sarah Boyd, Lothian’s Operations Director, said: “It is with pride that Lothian serves at the heart of our local communities and after the challenges of the last year it’s frankly appalling that the actions of a few can directly impact on so many. However, driver and customer safety is our absolute priority and so it is with deep regret that we have to take this action.
“We understand that we provide a critical service for key workers and those for whom travel is essential and we can only apologise to these customers who we know will be inconvenienced by this decision.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Police Scotland for all their efforts in helping us to maintain service this far. I would also like to thank our customers and all of our colleagues for their continued support and patience.
“We would urge anyone with any information relating to these incidents to come forward to ensure those responsible are held accountable for their actions.”
Lyn Turner, Unite Regional Industrial Officer, said: “Our members have the right to work without fear and we stand by Lothian’s decision to withdraw services from areas in which they cannot operate safely. The safety of our members is paramount.
“We would urge communities to come together and provide information on those responsible for these dangerous acts of criminal behaviour which are putting the safety of our members and that of the public at serious risk.”
Transport Convener, Lesley Macinnes, said: “Like everyone who’s seen coverage of the horrendous attacks on our bus services in recent days I’ve been utterly appalled by the reckless and intimidating behaviour of those behind the assaults. Enough is enough, it has to stop.
“I’m completely behind Lothian’s decision to withdraw bus services tonight as a clear message that this criminal targeting of a vital public service will not be tolerated. Anyone out there who thinks they know someone who’s involved in this despicable campaign of antisocial behaviour needs to do the right thing and report it to Police right away.”