Bus drivers have said the Glider service will be diverted from Belfast’s Falls Road in the evenings following a number of attacks on the vehicles.
In the latest incident two windows were smashed.
The service is now set to be diverted from from Falls Road onto the M1 motorway turning back up at Kennedy way after 7pm every evening.
Representing the bus drivers, Unite deputy regional secretary Davy Thompson said they have been left with no choice.
The responsibility for this outcome lies wholly with those who perpetrated these attacksDavy Thompson, Unite
“This is only the latest in a series of reprehensible attacks on the Glider service in west Belfast; attacks which threaten the lives of both the travelling public and our members,” he said.
“The drivers and CRPOs have been left with no choice but to divert the Glider service from the Falls Road, where the attack occurred, onto the motorway where the service returns through Kennedy Way. This rerouting will only occur after 7pm in the evening.
“This decision was made in the interests of protecting safety and welfare of both staff and passengers but we recognise that it will result in huge disruption to those living on the Falls Road who use the Glider service.
“The responsibility for this outcome lies wholly with those who perpetrated these attacks.
“This is a hugely disappointing outcome and one that will only exacerbate the pressures on deprived households throughout the Falls Road area at a time of mounting challenge as a result of the coronavirus threat.”
Mr Thompson said the union will seek urgent meetings with local community representatives, the PSNI and Translink management in an attempt to stop the attacks and restore the evening services along the Falls Road.
The Glider service was introduced in 2018 with the aim of providing a rapid, frequent route from the east to the west of Belfast.
Full reinstatement will be reviewed once safeguarding measures prove effectiveTranslink
Bus operator Translink confirmed the change of route in a statement, saying: “Glider services were diverted from Falls Park last night after objects were thrown, causing two broken windows.
“There were no injuries.
“We condemn attacks on our services in the strongest possible terms and we apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.
“Following consultation with the PSNI, community and elected representatives and trade unions, safeguards will be in place to allow continued operation of services after 7pm this evening which will involve some adjustments to services passing the Falls Park during a short period of time.
“Full reinstatement will be reviewed once safeguarding measures prove effective.”