“It looks like we’ll have to pull the buses out of West Tallaght after 6pm”

By Aura McMenamin

Dublin Bus management will make a decision on whether to terminate the 27 bus route at The Square on Friday, following more than a dozen incidents of anti-social behaviour on the route this summer.

Youths throwing missiles at the bus or hitching lifts on the back of the bus – also known as ‘scutting’ – have caused grave concerns for the company, who have terminated the service early or rerouted it to avoid certain areas on its way to Jobstown.

Dublin Bus 27 stock

A Dublin Bus driver, who only wishes to be named as Sean, spoke to The Echo on behalf of the National Bus and Rail Union about the gravity of the situation in West Tallaght.

Sean said: “It’s difficult enough driving a bus without having to deal with bricks being thrown at the window.”

The bus driver from Tallaght has been with Dublin Bus for 18 years. He spent seven years driving the 77 route, which became the 27 in 2011.

“At the moment it looks like we’ll have to pull the buses out of West Tallaght after 6pm,” Sean said, saying that at the Dublin Bus/Luas Community Forum held in Killinarden Enterprise Centre on August 4, union reps and Dublin Bus management warned that unless the community responded to the issue, the service would have to be pulled.

According to Sean, the Dublin Bus/Luas Community Forum was set up seven years ago to deal with anti-social behaviour. Sean says the forum was initially very effective, with several representatives from the community present.

However, he says that now ‘you’d be lucky to get two local councillors there’.

He said: “This is not acceptable. We’ve had a number of incidents. We had a driver shot at with a pellet gun. Imagine if his window had been open because he wanted to get some air?”

“This requires a community response. If we don’t get that on Friday’s meeting, a decision will be made very quickly.”

The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) which represents Dublin Bus drivers, said that ‘a design fault’ on newer ‘SG’ models of buses was facilitating scutting.

According to the NBRU, the SG model has lifts on the bottom of the bus, which allows scutters to stand, as well as a gap on the engine grill which allows the scutter to hold on. Sean and the NBRU expressed fears that a teenager scutting on the back of the bus could fall and get knocked down by a car.

A spokesperson from the NBRU said: “We’ve received lots of complaints from drivers in these areas. There is no camera to catch this, the driver is unaware there is someone on the back of the bus

“It’s become a bit of an epidemic in West Tallaght.”

The NBRU called on the National Transport Authority, which own the buses, to remove the lifts.

The NTA said in a statement: “Dublin Bus, who operate the services, are aware of these types of incidents and report these to An Garda Síochána when they occur.

“This is not a vehicle design issue but is, instead, reckless behaviour by the youths involved, who are putting their own safety and the safety of others at risk. Both the NTA and Dublin Bus requests that nobody participates in this type of dangerous behaviour which can result in accidents and serious injuries.”

Dublin Bus responded to queries on the issue, saying: “Dublin Bus is aware of these types of incidents and has reported such to An Garda Síochána. These are extremely dangerous actions which could result in serious injury and Dublin Bus strongly discourages anyone from partaking in such reckless behaviour.”

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