Demand for dedicated transport police

By Aideen O'Flaherty

ANTI-SOCIAL behaviour in West Tallaght is having “a detrimental effect” on bus drivers, with routes that go into the area routinely having to be pulled in the evenings in recent weeks, leading a union rep to call for dedicated transport police.

According to the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU), several drivers from the routes have been off work “for prolonged periods of time”, and want to be taken off the affected routes – 27, 77a and 65b – as result of the issues.

Bus 2 compressor

A Dublin Bus window smashed

Sean Yeates, an NBRU executive in Dublin Bus’s Ringsend garage, told The Echo: “Anti-social behaviour issues in West Tallaght go back over 30 years.

“They have a detrimental effect on the health of the drivers, some of whom have been off work for prolonged periods of time. They also look to be taken off routes affected.

“The NBRU have, in place with management and local representatives, a forum that meets with the gardai monthly.

“The NBRU have been calling for a dedicated transport police to tackle anti-social behaviour, but the minister has not responded.

“In the last few weeks routes 27, 77a and 65b have all been curtailed and drivers are looking at a more permanent curtailment which could affect the service at Christmas.

“We have a meeting arranged for December 6 and are calling for full attendance by TDs and local community reps to avoid a Christmas curtailment.”

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The front door of a bus with broken window

A Dublin Bus spokesperson confirmed to The Echo that there have been curtailments on the 27 bus route in recent weeks due to anti-social behaviour, but added that the overall level of anti-social incidents involving Dublin Bus was down by 6.5 per cent in 2019, compared to last year.

The spokesperson added: “Overall incidents of anti-social behaviour and vandalism on buses have also decreased in recent years since the introduction of the exact fare system, CCTV and security screens at the drivers cab.

“The entire Dublin Bus fleet is fully fitted with CCTV cameras with up to ten internal cameras and two external cameras fitted on the more modern vehicles in the fleet.

“Each vehicle is also equipped with a radio which facilitates immediate contact to our Central Control Centre.

“All Dublin Bus employees are fully trained on the comprehensive procedures for dealing with specific challenging situations including anti-social behaviour.”

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