Town's evening buses could be axed

By Richard SmithEVENING bus services in a town could be scrapped after another bus driver was assaulted during an outbreak of violence.Bus companies and the county council are alarmed by late-night attacks on drivers by youths congregating at the Turban Centre in Woodbridge.

By Richard Smith

EVENING bus services in a town could be scrapped after another bus driver was assaulted during an outbreak of violence.

Bus companies and the county council are alarmed by late-night attacks on drivers by youths congregating at the Turban Centre in Woodbridge.

In the latest incident a 42-year-old driver for Gemini Travel was attacked on Wednesday night when he tried to remonstrate with a teenager who had damaged the bus with a key.


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The driver went to Ipswich Hospital with severely bruised spine and kidneys following the attack - and Gemini Travel then cancelled the last bus to Bawdsey on Thursday because of the violence.

When snow fell earlier this year a group of youths targeted the Gemini bus. The driver opened the door when it appeared they wanted to board and was then attacked by balls of ice, suffering facial bruising.

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Ed Nicholls, managing director of Gemini Travel, called yesterday for extra police foot patrols.

“It is getting unsafe and I know other bus companies have had problems. This service was put on so that older people could come into Woodbridge and enjoy an evening at the Riverside Theatre before going home,” he said.

“But there is no way they are going to want to catch a bus because of what is going on and it is not very nice going into the town centre late at night.”

County council officers are appalled at the latest attack and said it was the most severe incident reported to them.

They warned that if the violence continued, then Suffolk County Council would have to review the future of evening bus services through the town.

A council spokeswoman added: “We have been aware of the problems in this area and have been monitoring the situation.

“The county council is working with the town council and Suffolk Coastal to see what we can do to resolve the security issues at the bus terminus.”

Inspector Terry Byford, of Woodbridge police, said: “The driver has been seen by officers and an investigation is ongoing.

“We are continuing to target the area for additional patrols and are working with other organisations, including local councils, on a multi-agency approach to tackling the issues in the town centre, particularly at the Turban Centre.

“The recent use of an anti-social behaviour order, resulting in one youth being jailed for four months, is just one of the methods being used and officers are committed to dealing with these problems. Further work is being planned in the coming weeks.

“We would ask members of the public to play their part by reporting any incidents to police immediately using 999 and by becoming good witnesses - noting a description, including the clothing, of anyone involved in damage or disorder.”

Ben Redsell, county councillor for Woodbridge, said: “It is further evidence of unruly behaviour by a minority of young people who are out to make trouble.

“This is unfortunately tarnishing all young people in Woodbridge, the vast majority of whom are decent law-abiding citizens.

“It is time we cracked down on this anti-social yob element and I have been in close consultation with Woodbridge police to see how this issue can be addressed.

“The area around the Turban Centre Bus Station and that part of the town centre is a hot-spot for trouble, as evidenced by the damage suffered by local businesses.”

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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