Tough new powers tabled to tackle bus yobs
Tough new measures to tackle yobs who threaten and intimidate passengers on buses are set to be introduced in the Black Country.
Transport bosses want to give police more power to take action against those who cause trouble on buses.
New byelaws are being considered which would apply on buses and at bus stops and stations in the West Midlands. They would give officers greater powers to deal with a range of issues including drunken behaviour, smoking or vaping, vandalising property, obstructing passengers, threatening behaviour and playing loud music.
If the bus byelaws are confirmed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) they would be the first in the UK. Experts say fear of encountering trouble puts some people off using the bus.
Similar measures are already in place on trains and trams in the West Midlands and chiefs say the extension to buses is part of a 'zero-tolerance stance' across the public transport network.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: "No-one on our buses should have to put up with anti-social behaviour and I am determined to use every tool available, including these bus byelaws, to tackle the problem.
"Reported crime is relatively low, but the fear of antisocial behaviour still deters some people from using the bus.
"Therefore we want to do everything possible to stamp out nuisance behaviour and enable everyone to use public transport in full safety and security."
Councillor Roger Lawrence, the combined authority's transport boss and head of Wolverhampton Council, said: "Our congestion management plan for the region, which was launched last year, told us perception of personal safety is a very real barrier to public transport use.
"Although crime on buses has dramatically reduced by 70 per cent since 2006 antisocial behaviour is still preventing people from taking the bus, in fact 11.5 per cent additional public transport journeys would be made every year if they felt safer.
"We have listened to passengers' feedback on what would make them feel safer when using public transport and believe introducing bus byelaws to tackle antisocial behaviour is an important first step."
The byelaws will be discussed by the WMCA on Friday.
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