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[20 JAN 99] WEST MIDLANDS TRAVEL NEWS
Bus Drivers Tackle School Troublemakers

Coventry bus drivers who have been subjected to foul and abusive behaviour while driving school bus routes are taking action.

Nearly every Pool Meadow based Travel West Midlands bus driver has signed a petition to act as an official protest against the behaviour of some youngsters on school buses.

Drivers say they are being threatened with violence, sworn at, abused and spat at with increasing regularity. Pupils are also defacing the insides of the buses.

TWM bosses say this then leads to the vehicles being taken off the road for repairs, with bills totalling in the thousands each year.

The petition has sparked a crisis meeting between travel bosses, school headteachers, local education officials and police in a desperate attempt to remedy the problem.

Coventry depot manager Steve Jasper accepts that schoolchildren have always been exuberant on buses, but believes the recent trend of nastiness is not acceptable.

He said:

"When we travelled on buses as school children we sometimes fooled around, but we respected the drivers and allowed them to do their job.

"But the personal attacks are very stressful for my drivers, how would other people react if someone spat in their face? I have had instances of drivers having to go home and change their uniform because of this."

Now transport chiefs are considering banning youngsters on buses used by the public. Children-only busses could be introduced and free passes removed from trouble makers.

The ideas were debated by the Coventry Transport Users’ Committee last night and will now go to teachers, police, transport companies and Coventry City Council for consideration in February.
   

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CWN / Business / A-Z / Travel West Midlands / 20 Jan 99

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