Bus services at risk due to anti-social behaviour

By Maurice Garvey

FEARS exist that Dublin Bus routes in Ballyfermot are at risk, due to consistent anti-social attacks in the area.

Routes have had to be curtailed on at least five occasions over an eight-day period from September 8-16 due to a spate of stone and brick throwing incidents.

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A Dublin Bus window smashed by stones

The worst affected routes are the 40 and the 79, which have faced repeated attacks by youths aged 11-13, particularly around the Markievicz Park area.

On Friday, September 15, youths smashed the windscreen and door of the 40 bus.

Dublin Bus driver Pat Judge has warned of an “ongoing problems” citing recent attacks in Ballyfermot, Fonthill Road and Neilstown.

Pat often drives the 40, but a colleague was driving it at the time of the attack on September 15.

“It has gone very vicious now,” he said.

“The driver said if he hadn’t stopped at that first stop, and the bus was going faster, someone would have been hurt or he could have crashed. He stopped to see if all were ok – young lads in the park were laughing.

“A few months ago, I had a centre door bricked, glass hit an elderly woman in the face. She is lucky with no injuries but said she wouldn’t travel again. It’s going on too long – something needs to be done.”

With the Dublin Bus Connects project set to make major changes to the bus network, many people in the area feel this is the worst possible time for these attacks to occur.

“We don’t need the other crowd to come in and close it down when we can do it ourselves,” said Henry Harding, a member of the local Dublin Bus forum.

“We had a meeting this morning (Tuesday) and the trade unions were saying they are not putting drivers in danger. There are major problems.

"People forget that a lot of these drivers are from Ballyfermot. Old people are afraid to go to the shops on Decies Road at night due to the anti-social behavior. It’s a disgrace.

“Buses went off last week for an hour or they were pulled for the night. People were stranded, nobody knows, and it could get worse as winter is coming.”

Independent Councillor Vincent Jackson received confirmation of multiple incidents over the last two weeks at the local bus forum.

One such incident on September 8, saw liquid allegedly poured at a bus driver on Ballyfermot Road, from an assailant on a horse and trap.

“I find it hard to believe that nobody saw any of these things happening,” said Cllr Jackson.

Meanwhile, a mini bus driver said bricks were thrown at his vehicle whilst he waited at a red light on Sunday night at Ballyfermot Road. He had five passengers on board.

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Another resident said her daughter was on the 40 bus route on Saturday night when a rock smashed through the window and landed beside her.

“She had glass in her hair but luckily wasn’t harmed,” said the resident.

Dublin Bus told The Echo they have a “firm strategy in place to tackle anti-social behaviour on its buses.”

They referred to their anti-social strategy which states the entire Dublin Bus fleet is fully fitted with CCTV cameras.

A spokesperson for gardai said they were aware of an alleged incident on Decies Road Ballyfermot, on September 8 at approximately 6.30pm.

“A bus driver states that while driving his bus that he was squirted with liquid. On inspection it was water.”

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