Outraged Metro bus drivers were yesterday threatening to withdraw services from areas of north and west Belfast after two incidents of anti-social behaviour where drivers and passengers were injured.
In a statement yesterday Translink “strongly condemned all acts of violence and anti-social behaviour towards employees and passengers”.
The company confirmed that two separate incidents involving Metro buses happened on Wednesday night.
In the first incident at 8.45pm an armed man wearing a hoodie held up the 11c Glencairn Metro service in the Forthriver Road area of north Belfast.
A PSNI spokesman said the armed man made off with a cash box.
He added: “The driver was not physically harmed but was left very shaken by the incident.”
In the second incident, at 8.55pm, a stolen car crashed into the Metro 10d bus in the Suffolk Road area of west Belfast.
Police said the blue car believed to have been involved in the collision was later recovered at Falcarragh Drive after being abandoned by two males and a female.
Emergency services were called and the bus driver and one passenger were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
Michael Dornan, chair of the Unite union bus committee at Translink, said their members were “outraged at these latest attacks on our colleagues who were out providing a service for the communities they were attacked in”.
He said: “A driver was robbed at knifepoint in the Glencairn area of the city while a second driver received a serious hand injury when his bus was rammed by a joyrider in the Suffolk Road area. Passengers travelling on the bus were also injured in this incident.”
Condemning both attacks, Mr Dornan called upon the community leaders from those areas to help identify those who carried out these attacks.
“We will not tolerate needless attacks on drivers.
“If the community leaders from those areas cannot provide us with assurances of our safety while serving the people of that community, then we will pull back from that area or any area that can not control this needless anti-social behaviour, as someone could have been very seriously injured last night,” he said.
The Translink statement added that “CCTV is in operation on board our services and we are assisting the PSNI with their investigation”.