THUGS ATTACK TRAMS ONCE A DAY
YOBS have attacked the Metrolink network nearly 1,200 times over two years. They have hurled mis- siles, vandalised trams and stops, committed arson, smashed windows and harassed and assaulted staff – at times causing serious injury.
New data, obtained by our sister paper, the M.E.N. via a Freedom of Information request, reveals the true scale of the problems on the network. In the two years to January 2018, TfGM recorded 1,183 vandalism incidents involving its trams, tracks, stops and ticket machines – an average of 1.5 a day.
It reveals the worst-hit stops are: St Werburgh’s Road on the Airport/East Didsbury line in Chorlton (63); Martinscroft on the Airport line on Hollyhedge Road in Wythenshawe (40); and Derker on the Oldham/Rochdale line between January 2016 and March 28 2018.
During that time there were 319 recorded incidents on the Oldham and Rochdale Line with Monsall, Shaw and Crompton the biggest targets.
Services travelling on the Airport and East Didsbury lines were targeted more than 380 times – with 252 incidents on the stretch between Barlow Moor Road and Manchester Airport alone.
The Eccles line had the least recorded incidents at just 26.
And bosses have spent £750,000 on ticket machine repairs and boosting security after vandalism.
The TfGM data did not give details of any arrests or charges in connection to the incidents, as the company does not have that information.
It comes after councillors called for ‘two guards on every tram’ in a bid to tackle thugs.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) bosses, meanwhile, have argued there is not proof that guards would be effective – and say a raft of alternative proposals will help.
These include a 24-hour control room monitoring the 2,000 CCV cameras across the network so officers can be scrambled immediately to incidents.
The new measure is among a raft of proposals to combat ongoing antisocial and violent behaviour.
Bev Hughes, deputy mayor for policing and crime, has said the 24-hour control room will send a clear message to offenders.
Their strategy to combat anti-social behaviour also includes: ● Extra patrols on the Oldham and Rochdale line where incidents have occurred, as well as targeting other hotspots ● More PCSOs, officers, inspectors and sergeants on the TravelSafe team, which guards the network ●● Faster roll-out of body cameras on security staff ● Continuing the bid for new powers to ban thugs from stations and stops ● More school visits to educate on the impact of anti-social behaviour
A TfGM spokesman said the figures included minor incidents where no damage had occurred.
All incidents of vandalism and anti-social behaviour were taken seriously and KeolisAmey Metrolink which runs the service decides when to file police reports, he said.
He added: “The actions of those individuals who believe it is acceptable to steal and cause damage to the network impacts on our customers and will not be tolerated.
“The fact that there have been a number of arrests and convictions should act as a strong deterrent.
“We’re also working with the Mayor to try and secure the necessary powers to ban persistent trouble makers and are working hard to proactively tackle the issue and prevent and deter incidents of crime.”
●● Two men were attacked with a hammer in March at Union Street West tram stop