A Bus Éireann education programme aimed at tackling vandalism to its fleet has a positive effect in Limerick.
Ger Doran has been a Bus Éireann driver in Limerick since 1996. During his time on the road, he has witnessed a number of vandalism episodes. These have caused serious injuries to drivers and passengers and have lead to the withdrawal of the bus service, usually in areas which need it most.
The big thing is really is stones being thrown at the buses.
Bus Éireann area manager Miriam Flynn says the company pays up to €200,000 on replacing the glass in broken bus windows alone. When buses are in the garage for repairs there is a knock on effect,
We're faced with a situation then where we’ve have to curtail services.
In a bid to combat bus vandalism, Bus Éireann has launched a schools based programme. The initiative, aimed at primary school children helps them understand how vandalism can cause serious injury, and could mean the loss of a much needed public service for them and their families.
As part of this programme, Ger Doran goes into classroom and impresses upon young people how throwing chewing gum, destroying bus seats and graffiti, all contribute to the destruction of their bus service.
This education initiative is having a positive effect. Three thousand young children in Limerick schools alone have been visited. One of them is Corpus Christi Primary School in Moyross, where bus vandalism is now practically zero.
Corpus Christi pupil Catriona O' Donoghue thinks the Bus Éireann education programme is beneficial because,
It tells people to respect the bus.
Her fellow pupil John Madigan defines vandalism,
It’s all about ripping seats and sticking chewing gum on the back of windows.
Thanks to the schools programme pupil Ciarán Keogh understands the futility of bus vandalism,
If you go into town every day what you are you going to use, you don’t have a car and the bus is gone, you’re going to have to walk.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 23 October 2006. The reporter is Cathy Halloran.