Dublin Bus drivers have agreed to re-instate a popular cross-city route which was curtailed due to serious anti-social behaviour.
Route No 27, which travels from Clare Hall to Jobstown, has been plagued with anti-social incidents over the past year.
Ongoing attacks on staff and buses on the west Tallaght part of the route had led several drivers to refuse to work it.
Horrific reports of drivers being spat at and hit with rocks and stones led the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) to last week announce plans to curtail the No 27 bus on election day, last Saturday, in order to raise awareness of the issues.
That action was averted following a meeting last Friday in which concerns about the drivers’ safety was made clear.
In order to allay drivers’ fears, Dublin Bus have now promised to dedicate an inspector to the problem area, while extra gardai will also be on patrol.
Sean Yeates, from the NBRU, welcomed the plans to stamp out the attacks on Dublin Bus staff, saying: “Drivers’ safety and that of those they serve is being compromised by a very small minority of people, to the detriment to the vast majority of commuters who just want to get from A to B.
“One driver is out sick after he had a rock thrown at him, through the window on the side of the bus. He’s out sick now the last five, six weeks.
“Their safety and that of those they serve has been compromised by a very small minority.
“Over the years, we used to have a CIE car with garda support out in west Tallaght.
“It was there on a nightly basis, it would follow the buses around, and the incidents decreased because there was a visible [policing] presence on the ground.”
The union says it had 48 incidents reported nationwide on its website, with 15 of those happening on the No 27 route.
Those included buses damaged by rocks, physical assaults and verbal assault.
The union has since engaged with local representatives and is now satisfied to run the full route as per the schedule.
Dermot O’Leary, general secretary of NBRU, says the union is reiterating its call for full-time transport police.
Speaking last Friday, O’Leary also spoke of his disappointment that a large number of local representatives have failed to help find solutions to the problems.
He said: “Representatives from the NBRU attended at the Tallaght Forum meeting to discuss the issue of the withdrawal of the No 27 bus service through Jobstown.
“The forum is structured to provide for bus drivers, through their respective trade unions, gardai, local community representatives and politicians to engage on issues associated with anti-social behaviour which, unfortunately, have increased alarmingly over recent months.
“Whilst it is disappointing that a large number of local representatives have not been fully engaging with the forum over recent months, [Deputy John Lahart [FF] and [Cllr] Charlie O’Connor [FF] have been to the fore in assisting with our attempts to both highlight and seek solutions to the epidemic proportions of anti-social behaviour.
“The NBRU have long been campaigning for a dedicated Garda Public Transport unit to help in combatting the type of behaviour being witnessed across our public transport system.
“Following representations made by Deputy Lahart, Cllr O’Connor and [Deputy] Sean Crowe [SF], assurances have been given by Dublin Bus and gardai that resources will immediately be provided to assist in combatting the anti-social behaviour in the affected areas.
“The NBRU has subsequently agreed to restore the No 27 service to these areas.”
In 2019, almost 1,000 incidents of anti-social behaviour on Dublin Bus routes were reported.
In a letter to then Minister for Transport Shane Ross, the NBRU said most of these incidents were concentrated in about “half a dozen hotspots” around the city and “no other occupation would tolerate such levels of anti-social behaviour in their workplaces.”