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Youngsters make travelling by bus unpleasant, bus users tell Stagecoach

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: November 30, 2012

By Will Topps

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TRAVELLING by bus in North Devon is being made more and more unpleasant thanks to the behaviour of young people.

So said Leonard Hill, from Bideford, on Friday when representatives of Stagecoach and local councils invited members of the public to have their say on bus services.

Mr Hill voiced his concerns at the Square, in Barnstaple, when given the opportunity to speak to Stagecoach's operations manager, Richard Scant.

He said the strong language used by youngsters on buses is offensive and that their general behaviour goes "too far".

"It's not very pleasant," said Mr Hill. "We shouldn't have to tolerate it.

"The graphic language is disgusting. They're like it every time they get on the bus, because they know they can get away with it."

Mr Hill said he understood young people can be boisterous but that often the behaviour he sees on buses goes beyond what should be acceptable.

"I don't want to be labelled a grumpy old man," he said.

"We were all young and high-spirited once, but this is too much.

"I'm not saying all kids are bad but their behaviour, particularly around 3-4pm when they're going home is too much.

"I'm no stranger to colourful language," added retired carpenter Mr Hill.

"I used to work with Irish navvies and they were as rough as you like but when a woman was around they stopped swearing and fighting or whatever they were doing."

But Mr Hill also said it seemed bus companies are powerless to stop such behaviour, a point Mr Scant accepted.

"He's quite right," said Mr Scant. "It does happen.

"But we wouldn't drive anywhere if we stopped the bus every time someone swore.

"If something happens and spills over then the driver pulls over and calls the police but we have to gauge what's acceptable.

"Nowadays swearing probably is acceptable, unfortunately."

Mr Scant said drivers for the company have been told to stay in their cabs, after an incident in another part of the South West when a driver was beaten up and hospitalised after confronting a group who were acting inappropriately.

"There's only so much we can do," he said.

He accepted Mr Hill's suggestion that signs outlining what is deemed acceptable passenger conduct could be given more prominence.

He also said police can travel for free on the buses, but has no idea how often officers take advantage of that.

Mayor of Barnstaple Lesley Brown said she spoke about the issue with young people a few weeks ago at a "political speed dating" event.

"There's a feeling among young people that Barnstaple has all the facilities and they can't get to them," she said.

"Perhaps if Stagecoach can do something for them to help them get around then in return you can get something from them, like promises to behave better on buses."

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  • accom  |  December 03 2012, 2:09PM

    Any child who acts in this way should be thrown out of the moving bus.

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  • Countrylover  |  November 30 2012, 8:38PM

    I was on a bus going through Braunton when school children were picked up after school. The came upstairs and the languge and behaviour was awful, very intimidating. The driver would not have been able to to anything in fact would more like have been threatened by them. They got of in Ilfracombe so must live there. As the police get free travel surely it could be a routine to get on random buses at school leaving time. Also school heads could talk to all classes about the importance of their school and its reputation, so polite behaviour and language, consideration to others and each other. Their behaviour though could in fact be how their parents act.

    Rate   9
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  • sicknote  |  November 30 2012, 11:15AM

    Most drivers do go around the bus when given the chance and pick up rubbish that lazy inconsiderate passengers leave behind but now that First have pulled out of the area they rarely have the time to do so. I agree many of the drivers seem miserable but given the abuse and moaning they have to put up with day after day its hardly suprising. The police get free travel and are aware of anti social behaviour on the buses, they should be playing a bigger role in keeping law and order by policing the buses but sadly they dont. As soon as a driver steps out of the cab to deal with any rowdy passengers they are breaking company policy and could face disciplinary action. Support the drivers and stop bloody moaning at them, its not there fault.

    Rate   7
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  • Gaz24  |  November 30 2012, 10:49AM

    I know it's a cost issue, but a bus conductor would sort this out overnight. The threat of being thrown off the bus would be enough to sort out youngsters who don't know how to behave properly. Maybe they could employ them just for the 'school run'.

    Rate   11
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  • westwardhobod  |  November 30 2012, 9:49AM

    Stagecoach could also improve the bus service by going round the bus before people board at Illfracombe & Appledore etc with a bag and remove the broken tins, bottles, cans, litter, left over meal cartons etc. We have some great Stagecoach drivers in North Devon and it makes the journey more enjoyable to be greeted. There are however several drivers who barely say a word when you board as if they do not really want to pick up paying passengers. It would be nice if they could be sent on a customer service course. Plus there are a couple of drivers who light fags when stood on the bus itself.

    Rate   2
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  • nick113  |  November 30 2012, 9:46AM

    Stagecoach could start with a Code of Conduct displayed on their buses. e.g. No shouting, swearing, eating, drinking, bad manners. Offenders will be removed from the bus. Simply pointing this out would help the driver and other passengers keep the rowdy element in line.

    Rate   10
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  • Sowester  |  November 30 2012, 9:27AM

    Bring back bus conductors. A quick rap round the back of the head with a wooden ticket rack, as they used to use, worked wonders in my day.

    Rate   11
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