Yob threat to lifeline Leeds bus route

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A transport operator is axing a “lifeline” service in Leeds after one of its buses came under attack from stone-throwing yobs.

An upstairs window on the Square Peg firm’s double decker was smashed during the alarming incident in Kippax.

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Another bus on the same number 22 route has also been targeted by youths in Seacroft.

Now the company is reluctantly pulling its number 22 service off the road for fear of repeat attacks.

Simon Daymond, boss of Lower Wortley-based Square Peg, said today: “Thankfully no one was injured but that is not the point.

“This is about safety and if somebody had been sitting next to the window that was smashed then they would have been showered with glass.”

Square Peg’s main business is school buses but it has also been running the Seacroft-Garforth-Rothwell number 22 since the summer of 2014.

Mr Daymond says he introduced the service – which is highly popular, especially with elderly passengers – after noticing a gap in the network provided by larger operators.

“I live in Garforth and I wanted to do something to help people connect with other communities in the area,” he said.

“It’s proved a lifeline for a lot of older customers who might otherwise be isolated so it’s with a heavy heart that we are withdrawing it.”

The attack on the bus in Kippax happened near the leisure centre at about 5.15pm last Friday, January 22.

One of its sister vehicles was pelted with large lumps of mud in Seacroft around the same time that day.

The incidents came the day after taxi drivers staged a protest at Leeds police headquarters calling for action against youths who have been throwing missiles at cabs in areas including Seacroft, Crossgates and Halton Moor.

One of bus operator First’s vehicles also had three windows broken in an attack in Halton Moor last Monday evening, January 18. There were no injuries.

Mr Daymond said the targeting of his buses was “the final straw” after other problems that have dogged the 22 over the last 18 months.

Roadworks have been a repeated issue for the service while it is also claimed that the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), which includes what was Metro, failed to print revised timetables ahead of a route change on January 11.

A WYCA spokesman said today: “We are sorry to hear that Square Peg is withdrawing this service due to stone-throwing and would urge anyone who knows about these events to contact the police.

“West Yorkshire Combined Authority was able to publish the revised timetables for the service online at www.wymetro.com prior to the [January 11 route] change despite only being provided with 38 rather than the required 56 days’ notice of the change by Square Peg.

“Distribution of printed timetable leaflets began once they were delivered in the week commencing Monday, January 4, and we were able to update stop displays in the week commencing Monday, January 18, despite the change falling outside the schedule of seven bus service change dates each year, agreed with bus operators.”

Square Peg will be withdrawing the 22 after a standard notice period of eight weeks.

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