Northern Ireland news

Bus route in west Belfast remains suspended due to anti-social behaviour

There have been 24 incidents of buses having to be withdrawn for at least one evening because of anti-social behaviour over the past five years
John Monaghan

A BUS route in west Belfast remains indefinitely out of service because of anti-social behaviour, four months after being halted in July.

It is one of three routes across Northern Ireland which are currently suspended - two for the past five years - due to attacks on buses and drivers.

In west Belfast, passengers are unable to get buses to and from Lagmore View after a series of attacks on vehicles by youths this year.

Buses travelling along the route were targeted three times in four days in June with weapons including air rifles and catapults.

In July, Translink withdrew services after a petrol bomb was thrown at a bus in a "premeditated attack".

The route was restored in August but suspended on its first day back due to further attacks.

A resumption of services was again fixed for September 1, but on that day a replica gun was pointed at a driver by hooded youths and Translink withdrew the route once more.

Meanwhile, two further Ulsterbus routes have been suspended since 2011 after stone throwing.

The Brownlow area of Craigavon is currently omitted from the Lurgan to Portadown bus route, while a half a mile diversion is in place in Portavogie for the 22.50 evening service between Greyabbey and Portaferry due to attacks.

In the past five years there have been a total of 24 incidents of buses having to be withdrawn for at least one evening because of anti-social behaviour.

The figures were released in response to an assembly question from Sinn Féin Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd.

Infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard said: "Due to the seriousness of some attacks some services have been removed indefinitely and Translink will continue to monitor the situation on the affected routes."

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