85% of Ulsterbus service withdrawals were Derry routes

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Eighty-five per cent of Ulsterbus services withdrawn due to attacks on the bus or the driver over the past five years were on Derry routes, the Department for Infrastructure has revealed.

Of twenty Ulsterbus service withdrawals across the North since 2011, 17 were in the city.

Most of the services were withdrawn due to youths stoning buses, although a hijacking in Ballymagroarty, when a bus driver was ordered to drive a bomb to the Strand Road police station in November 2013, resulted in a service being withdrawn from the area for two days.

Seven services were withdrawn from Ballymagroarty (35 per cent of all Ulsterbus withdrawals in the North) over the five years.

Five services (25 per cent of all Ulsterbus withdrawals) were withdrawn from the Heather Road route in Galliagh.

Elsewhere in the city there was one service withdrawal each from Gobnascale, Creggan, Currynierin and Hazelbank over the five years, all due to buses being stoned.

And this year, Galliagh has been a trouble spot with buses withdrawn from Heather Road (Elaghmore) in May, September and last month.

Listing the withdrawals the Department for Infrastructure said: “A small number of bus services have had to be suspended over the past five years due to attacks on drivers and vehicles.”

It added: “Due to the seriousness of some attacks some services have been removed indefinitely and Translink will continue to monitor the situation on the affected routes.”

None of the Derry services were withdrawn indefinitely.

Elsewhere, the Ulsterbus Service 46 from Lurgan to Portadown via Brownlow has been indefinitely suspended from the Brownlow area since 2011.

Discussions between Translink and local MLAs are currently ongoing to restore the service to the Brownlow area of Craigavon, the Department has stated.

Meanwhile, a half mile diversion on the late Greyabbey to Portaferry via Portavogie service, imposed due to a stone throwing incident, has been in place since 2011.

And in April 2012 the Armagh Town Service 371 was withdrawn from the Mulacreevy Estate for four nights due to stone throwing.