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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 August, 2004, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
Battling against the vandals
damaged bus shelter
The problem of vandalism at bus shelters was an all year round one
Vandalism to public facilities such as bus shelters is a sign of an "increasingly uncivilised and anti-social society", a Belfast politician has said.

The glass shelters, provided by the company Adshel, are a constant target of vandals.

The Roads Service, which is ultimately responsible for bus shelters, said there was a tendency for vandalism "to be more prevalent during the summer, than the winter months".

Nelson McCausland, a DUP councillor in north Belfast, said he had experience of vandalism to a bus shelter in his immediate area.

"There is one at the end of my street and it is done every other weekend. It is outside a video shop and a wine store. There are pillars beside it for people to sit on - it is a paradise for vandals," he said.

"There are a fair number in my constituency which get vandalised. There is also a problem with the boxes for BT and NTL."

This contract is an example of public/private sector co-operation and the shelters are provided and maintained from the revenue accruing from the advertising on many of the shelters
Roads Service

The Roads Service said vandalism to shelters occured at a higher rate in some areas than in others.

"Regarding costs, the vast majority of the shelters are provided by Roads Service's contractor, Adshel," said a spokesman.

"This contract is an example of public/private sector co-operation and the shelters are provided and maintained from the revenue accruing from the advertising on many of the shelters.

"The facility is therefore provided for bus passengers at no cost to the public purse."

'Contract's specifications'

However, Roads Service said some older shelters in its Belfast division were maintained by it.

"Apart from the occurrence of graffiti, they are relatively indestructible and maintenance costs are low. There are also similar shelters erected and maintained by local councils. These are largely in rural areas outside the Belfast division."

Adshel said it had not seen a significant increase in the number of bus shelters being vandalised.

We are extremely disappointed when this (vandalism) happens - we work with the agencies responsible for the shelters
Translink

"We have a contract with the Roads Service. Within that contract's specifications, shelters are supplied and maintained," said a spokesman.

"Each site is monitored and we replace broken glass with polycarbonate, which is more robust, but does not look as good.

"Reaction times to the reports of sightings (of a vandalised shelter) are within four hours to ensure the shelter is safe and the shelter is then repaired within two working days."

The public transport company Translink, said it aimed to provide the best service possible and part of that was wanting facilities which were key to services.

"We are extremely disappointed when this (vandalism) happens. We work with the agencies responsible for the shelters.

"Any vandalism is reported by our bus drivers and Adshel do an early morning round-up of shelters, because there is a health and safety issue."

The problem of vandalism at bus shelters was an all year round one, she said.

The police do not hold specific statistics on the number of vandalised bus shelters, which are categorised with many other acts as criminal damage.

The number of incidents of all reported criminal damage in May, June and July in Northern Ireland was 8,382.




SEE ALSO:
Battle against bus shelter yobs
20 Jun 03  |  Nottinghamshire
Fears over bus drivers' safety
28 Apr 03  |  Nottinghamshire
Concrete slab thrown at bus
21 Feb 03  |  England



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