THERE are fears someone could be “seriously hurt or worse” – and that key workers are being deprived of a vital means of transport – by yobs unleashing mindless attacks on Bradford buses.
Their behaviour has been branded as “appalling” and “unacceptable”.
These images show the extent of the damage caused in a thuggish episode on Wednesday night, where windows of the 608 bus, run by First, were smashed on Broadstone Way in Holme Wood, meaning changes had to be made to the schedule.
It came after three buses were left with smashed windows earlier in the day. First Bradford’s 620 service was forced to instigate a ‘Bierley boycott’ and terminate at the Rooley Lane Asda supermarket because of the incident on Bierley Lane, which is understood to have involved two to three youths.
People took to the Telegraph & Argus’s Facebook page to share their anger over what is happening.
One person questioned: “What is wrong with the youth of today? Do they get kicks out of throwing stones and bricks at passing buses. No discipline, no respect, hope they find them and make them pay.”
Another woman said she and a friend couldn’t believe what they were seeing as the bricks bounced off the bus.
Public transport is particularly important in the current Covid-19 pandemic, providing an essential means for key workers to travel to and from work.
Concerns have been raised that delays, or buses not running on a certain part of a route because of vandalism, could have a knock-on impact on vital services.
Tom Bridge, Operations Director of First West Yorkshire, said: “This mindless vandalism is endangering our drivers and customers and disrupting the lives of local people trying to get to and from work and make necessary trips.
“We’re sure the community will want to join together and do what they can to end this reckless behaviour as it needs to stop before someone is seriously hurt or worse.
“The safety of our staff and customers is our highest priority and we are working closely with the police to investigate the incidents including the use of on board CCTV footage to help identify the individuals involved.
“Although isolated, such attacks can have very serious consequences and we would encourage anyone with information to contact the police or get in touch with Crimestoppers.”
He added: “Acts of vandalism cause significant interference to timetable arrangements, with damaged buses having to be withdrawn.
“We aim to source a replacement bus as quickly as possible in order to minimise disruption to our customers, but when vandalism occurs while the bus is in service, then it does inevitably and regrettably result in at least part of that scheduled journey being lost.
“In the current circumstances a delay or non-running on part of a route could impact the travel plans of key workers in health and other essential sectors, so the knock-on can affect other vital services.”
First said that if the wave of vandalism continues, it will consider diversions away from parts of affected areas and stopping services earlier in the evening to ensure staff and customer safety.
“We appreciate the inconvenience this would cause but have to safeguard our drivers and passengers,” said Mr Bridge.
Councillor Alan Wainwright (Lab, Tong) said residents had been in touch with him to share their anger over what has been happening.
He branded the incidents as “absolutely appalling” and said: “I would put an appeal out to anybody who knows anybody behaving in this appalling manner to report it to the police.”
He said youth services were due to have a meeting yesterday afternoon about the issue and working is ongoing with Police Community Support Officers.
Cllr Wainwright raised concern about buses being taken off routes and urged companies to think twice about making that decision: “There’s a lot of key workers being deprived, they are having to use taxis and what-not to get to work.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “We are working with partners in the Bradford South area to identify those responsible for this unacceptable behaviour, so further action can be taken.”
Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.