Navan residents and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) have brought up complaints of antisocial and criminal behaviour taking place on the NX Navan bus route.
Violence, harassment, intimidation and drug usage have become a common occurrence on the NX bus route and at Navan bus stops according to NBRU and local residents.
The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) has said bus and rail could be withdrawn from ‘particular black spots’ from October 14th in advance of Halloween due to violence targeted at union members in those areas. They said services could be restricted before this if more attacks against staff occur or incidents of serious antisocial behaviour.
General Secretary of NBRU Dermot O’Leary said 330 Dublin Bus staff have been assaulted since 2014 which is a significant increase from past decades.
“We have had serious assaults on drivers in Kildare, Navan, Drogheda, Busáras, issues in Loughrea, Cavan, Monaghan,” O’Leary said. “The shocking pellet gun attack on a Bus Éireann driver here in Cork last week illustrates quite clearly the issues faced by frontline transport workers, on an almost daily basis.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD and Mayor of Navan, Cllr. Eddie Fennessy, have called on the government to establish a public transport policing system within An Garda Síochána.
“While these issues were infrequent in the past, this behaviour is now something that has crept into almost every service across the country,” Darren O’Rourke said. “Passengers and staff on buses, trains, and trams are reporting a widespread increase on both rural and urban services.”
“We must also bear in mind that, for environmental and other reasons, we are hoping to significantly increase the numbers of people using public transport in the years ahead. This will not happen if people continue to have concerns for their safety. This is particularly the case for vulnerable service users.”
Rising fuel costs have meant locals are becoming more reliant on public transport, forcing many into a dangerous environment on a daily basis. Others are too fearful of the current situation to use bus and rail services despite it being a much cheaper alternative for many.
“It has gotten to the stage where passengers almost expect to see open drug use and dealing on buses and around bus stops,” Mayor of Navan, Eddie Fennessy said. “The social problems generated by such behaviour has a negative impact on the wider community. It is unacceptable. Issues with the NX service in Navan are well known and need to be dealt with accordingly,” Fennessey continued.