CURBING a return to anti-social behaviour and criminal activity on public transport is essential, according to a Labour Party local area representative in Cork.
Peter Horgan has said the lack of any attempts by the Government to trial a public transport police system in Cork, or anywhere, is worrying and needs to be addressed.
Currently public transport is operating at 25% capacity for the purposes of allowing those providing essential services to get to work during Level Five Covid-19 restrictions.
However, Mr Horgan fears there could be a re-emergence of anti-social behaviour as restrictions are lifted.
“At the moment we have travel restrictions and public transport capacity restrictions.
“Incidents occurred before lockdown that were cause for concern and were a danger to drivers and passengers and as this lockdown eases steps must be taken to curb any return to anti-social behaviour and criminal activity on our public transport,” said Mr Horgan.
“A dedicated transport police presence would assist gardaí in the areas of the bus routes but would also not take gardaí off regular routes.
“Transport unions have called for this for some time, it deserves to be tested and trialled,” he added.
Last year, bus services on Ringmahon Road were suspended due to anti-social behaviour. A rock was thrown at the bus and gardaí were informed of the incident.
In September 2019, a spokesperson for Bus Éireann said: “Due to anti-social behaviour, Routes 202 (Hollyhill – City Centre – Mahon Point) and 219 (CIT – Douglas – Mahon Point) are currently curtailed and operating via Skehard Road until further notice.” The route was later reinstated.
A decision was then taken, following meetings between gardaí, Bus Éireann, and unions, to suspend services in the city immediately for a two hour period if the safety of drivers or passengers is compromised.
The decision was taken following a spate of attacks on city buses including one incident where a bus driver was shot with a pellet gun. Racism, abuse, and other attacks were also reported on buses in the city.