Northern Ireland

Belfast's Metro bus drivers threaten to boycott attack areas

Metro bus
Image caption Metro drivers may avoid areas where anti-social behaviour is taking place

Belfast bus drivers are threatening to withdraw services from areas where anti-social behaviour is causing injury to staff and passengers.

Drivers said they were outraged at two recent attacks that saw a passenger and one of their colleagues injured.

A Metro bus driver was robbed in the Glencairn area while another received a hand injury when his vehicle was struck by a stolen car on the Suffolk Road.

The Unite union has called on community leaders to help tackle the problem.

Unite spokesman Michael Dornan said: "Our members are outraged at these latest attacks on our colleagues who were out providing a service for the communities they were attacked in.

"A driver was robbed at knifepoint in the Glencairn area of the city while a second driver received a serious hand injury when his bus was rammed by a joy rider in the Suffolk Road area," he said.

'Anti-social behaviour'

Mr Dornan called on community leaders to help identify those who carried out these attacks and to give their names to the appropriate authorities.

"If the community leaders from those areas cannot provide us with assurances of our safety while serving the people of that community, then we will pull back from that area or any area that cannot control this needless anti-social behaviour."

A spokesman for Translink, the parent body of Metro, confirmed that two separate incidents had occurred on Wednesday.

"At around 8.45pm, the Glencairn Metro service was robbed by a hooded individual armed with a knife in the Forthriver Road area of north Belfast. No-one was injured and the police were called to the scene. A small amount of cash was stolen," the spokesman said.

"At 8.55pm, a road traffic collision occurred involving a stolen car which hit a Metro bus in the Suffolk Road area of west Belfast. The car fled the scene. Emergency services were called and the bus driver and one passenger were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

"We strongly condemn all acts of violence and anti-social behaviour towards our employees and passengers. CCTV is in operation on board our services and we are assisting the police with their investigation.

"For safety reasons, large amounts of cash are never carried on board Translink bus services and we would encourage anyone with information relating to both criminal incidents to contact the police."

Police said a blue car believed to have been involved in the collision incident was recovered after being abandoned by two men and a woman at Falcarragh Drive.