Calderbank’s councillors have joined forces to condemn the series of vandalism attacks which have resulted in the withdrawal of the area’s bus service.
Airdrie South representatives Michael Coyle and Paul Di Mascio of the SNP, Conservative member Sandy Watson and Labour ward colleague Ian McNeil hit out at the “extremely dangerous” actions in a joint statement and said: “Fatalities could easily have occurred.”
The four are taking action after windows on the 211 bus through the village were smashed three times in little over a month – including twice in three days last weekend – leading to operator Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) suspending the route and diverting it away from the village’s Main Street.
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Vandals threw objects at the vehicles, which were passing through Calderbank en route between Airdrie and Motherwell, on the trio of occasions during August and September.
No injuries were suffered in any of the incidents, but thousands of pounds of damage was caused.
The area’s elected members have since attended an online meeting with SPT, and residents will soon be receiving a leaflet from their councillors highlighting the incidents and asking for their help in resolving the issue and ultimately having the service restored.
A statement from the four councillors said the vandalism incidents “caused severe damage to the vehicles, particularly the windows; [and] to avoid risk to passengers and the driver, SPT has stopped the service as it is no longer safe to continue.
“This happened on Main Street near the junction with Crowwood Road; fortunately no-one was injured, but fatalities could easily have occurred.
“Police Scotland is now involved as these are well beyond acts of vandalism. It is important that this is stopped and those responsible are held to account for actions that are extremely dangerous.
“If you have any information which will lead to the apprehension of those involved, please contact police or one of the councillors; this can be done in confidence if you wish.”
They added: “If this can happen to the bus today it can happen to any vehicle in the future – so before lives are damaged or put at risk, we need to put a stop to this mindless idiocy.”
Neil Gray, the Airdrie MSP, also took part in the virtual meeting and has asked for mobile CCTV equipment to be used in the village.
He said: “I cannot believe that someone would think it’s OK to throw objects at a moving vehicle. The risk to life of the driver, passengers and any pedestrians is unthinkable.
“These people have endangered lives, cost their fellow villagers a vital service, [and] left the operator facing thousands of pounds of damage which puts these critical routes and their viability at risk.”
SPT suspended the service through Calderbank last weekend, with the 211 now travelling through Brownsburn and Chapelhall instead until further notice.
A spokesperson for the travel authority told Lanarkshire Live: “We are working closely with Police Scotland to identify those responsible for the totally unacceptable mindless vandalism on this route that puts both passengers and drivers at risk.
“Unfortunately we have no choice but to suspend part of this route, which we know is essential for many in the local community. Where there is dangerous behaviour, we must take action to protect those using the bus as well as the driver.
“SPT My Bus is available for the most vulnerable passengers in the area to assist them with travel. We are speaking to councillors to make them aware of the issues and discuss options for the reinstatement of this critical service.”
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