AN increased presence by police will allow Lothian to resume their bus services to Clermiston, after an assault on a bus driver on Friday night.

Lothian Buses have announced their intent to operate services as scheduled to the Clermiston area of the City on Monday evening following the removal of services after 7.00pm during the weekend.

Services 1, 21, 26 and Skylink 200 will return to Clermiston as scheduled supported by an increased police presence following a serious incident of anti-social behaviour. 

Lothian Buses Photo: www.martinmcadam.com

Sarah Boyd, Operations Director, Lothian said: “Our drivers have played a critical part in keeping services operating for keyworkers and those that require to make essential journeys across the last 12 months and it is extremely disappointing that we are being targeted at various locations across Edinburgh and the Lothians.  

“Following a serious incident on Friday evening and a significant increase in instances of antisocial behaviour, we made the difficult decision to remove services from the Clermiston area on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Whilst we offer our sincere apologies to any of our customers who were inconvenienced, the safety of our drivers and customers remains our absolute priority and we will not hesitate to take similar action again if necessary.

“Working closely with Police Scotland we will continue to monitor the situation as our services return to Clermiston this evening.”

The removal of services, follows the launch of a city-wide initiative being run jointly between Police Scotland and Lothian Buses in response to escalating antisocial behaviour directed towards both the drivers and the vehicles. Operation Proust was launched last week to combat the disorder ranging from stones and other objects being thrown at the moving vehicle to antisocial behaviour targeted at the driver and on the bus itself.

Inspector Jonny Elliott from Drylaw Police Station said: “Bus drivers have and continue to provide an essential service to the public during this pandemic, including transport to and from hospitals. It is disgraceful that those who have continued to support our communities have been targeted in this way.

“This type of reckless behaviour will not be tolerated and dedicated officers will be on patrol in the area to make sure the buses can operate safely.

“Nobody should be outwith their homes, besides from essential purposes, and anyone caught engaging in antisocial behaviour or violence will be dealt with robustly.

“Extensive enquiries are ongoing to trace the individuals involved in the recent incidents and I would appeal to anyone with information to contact Police Scotland through 101. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “It’s incredibly disappointing to hear reports of antisocial behaviour, vandalism and, indeed, criminal activity on our buses and trams over recent weeks.

“These appalling actions are completely unacceptable at any time but right now, during an extremely difficult period for the city, they are putting even more pressure on those carrying out an indispensable service for people who live here. This must be so frightening for drivers, and passengers making essential journeys – I would ask anyone with information relating to these incidents that can help Police Scotland track down those responsible to come forward as a matter of urgency. If you suspect a member of your family is involved please take this very seriously and help us to prevent any further incidents.”

If anyone has any information in relation to this behaviour, please contact Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.  For up to date service information customers are encouraged to check www.lothianbuses.co.uk or the TfE mobile app before travelling.  

Lothian Buses Photo: www.martinmcadam.com