Safety comes first - but people need to be told

COMMENT: We all have a part to play in this special relationship

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When buses are repeatedly targeted by young vandals in a particular road, the company that operates them can’t just stand aside and do nothing.

That would be irresponsible in the extreme. So we absolutely agree with First Bus’s decision to suspend the 9 and 9a services that normally run along Howe Road in Gosport.

As a spokesperson says: ‘The safety of passengers and staff is an absolute priority’.

The company, quite rightly, operates a zero tolerance approach to acts of aggression and vandalism and says it ‘reserves the right to change routes or withdraw services from areas where it is not possible to operate safely’.

Again, we are with the company on that.

But the problem here seems to have been one of communication – or lack of it.

The company released a statement via social media saying that it would not be operating in Howe Road until Friday morning because of the attacks.

But some passengers clearly didn’t see it, meaning they were taken by surprise when the 9 and 9A stopped running.

The News spoke to one couple, Eileen and Michael Petty, who were planning to go into Gosport town centre for the afternoon and had no idea the bus services had been stopped.

In the age of Facebook, it’s very easy to think that you can get a message across that way. But the reality is that many bus passengers are elderly and may not be wise in the ways of social media.

What the bus company needed to do was put up signs on the route, making it absolutely clear what was happening and why.

We feel sure people would have understood and accepted the inconvenience.

But not knowing has merely fuelled their frustration.