21/02/2019

Translink Bus Services Withdrawn As Youths Attack Buses

A bus service in west Belfast was suspended on Wednesday night, 20 February, due to a string of attacks on drivers in recent days.

Police have launched an investigation after a series of incidents in the Lagmore area of Dunmurry, involving bricks being thrown, bus windows smashed, and lasers shone in drivers' eyes.

The 10D Metro services were withdrawn from 6pm onwards, until Thursday morning.

Police condemned the spate of attacks and warned those responsible they were "only hurting their own community".

A spokesperson said: "Driving that bus gets the isolated old person from their home to the doctors to get their prescription. It gets the single parent who doesn't drive down the road to do the shopping. It even gets the teenager home having been down at his mates! All simple everyday activities that rely on one thing, the bus driver, driving the bus.

"For those that live beyond Lagmore Dale these simple tasks are going to be more difficult. As a result of these events the bus drivers in conjunction with their union reps and management have decided to stop all services past Lagmore Dale until such times as they can be sure their staff are safe!"
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The PSNI added that its officers will continue to do everything possible to remedy the situation, including working closely with Translink.

"We will provide additional resources when possible to stop this. Where possible we will use CCTV to secure convictions," the spokesperson added.

"To the ordinary person who’s going to be inconvenienced we appreciate your frustration. But let's not lose sight of the issue here, this isn't the bus drivers fault, it's not Translink's fault and it’s not the police's fault either! The blame lies squarely with the wreckless and inconsiderate young people who are attacking buses!"

Tranlink NI added that the decision to suspend services last night was not taken lightly, but was in the interests of safety for staff and passengers after repeated attacks by a gang of youths.

"We utterly condemn anti-social behaviour and would urge parents to ensure they know where their children are and what type of activity they are engaging in.

"We are working closely with the PSNI, community and elected representatives to identify the individuals involved in this anti-social behaviour and to safeguard continued operation of services to the area."

Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.



(JG)

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