Vandal plagued bus route could reopen

HOPES have been raised that a bus route could reopen after it was dropped when vandals terrorised drivers and passengers with stone and egg attacks. First Essex Buses' number 21 service between Deanery Gardens and Black Notley near Braintree was pulled from operations after bosses decided the random incidents were putting people in serious danger.

HOPES have been raised that a bus route could reopen after it was dropped when vandals terrorised drivers and passengers with stone and egg attacks.

First Essex Buses' number 21 service between Deanery Gardens and Black Notley near Braintree was pulled from operations after bosses decided the random incidents were putting people in serious danger.

The attacks were taking place on a one-mile stretch through Coldnailhurst

Avenue and were so severe one of the company's driver's has been forced to take time off with nervous problems.

The problems have been occurring after about 5pm since the evenings became darker.

Services after 6pm have been suspended on the route since October 23, but yesterday Essex County Council said information about those thought to be responsible had been passed to the police.

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It is now hoped the route can re-open shortly.

Planning manager for First buses in mid Essex, Eric Carter, said: "Stones being thrown through the windows put not only drivers safety at risk but passengers safety at risk.

"We have been liasing with police in Braintree about re-opening the route.

"I would definitely describe the incidents as serious – anything that affects the safety of drivers and passengers is serious.

"We want to return our service as soon as possible and feel sorry for those who feel isolated without a bus after 6pm."

Essex County Council said the suspension of part of the route had only been a temporary measure.

A spokesman said: "During one of the attacks some young people were recognised and passed onto the police and we are hoping that will help.

"We are planning to reinstate the evening service subject to agreement with bus operators and the police."

Sgt Ken Midwinter, of Shalford police station, near Braintree said: "We are currently looking into the situation and aware of what is happening.

"This is potentially a very serious matter because if a windscreen is smashed a driver could lose control and go into pedestrians."

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