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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Vandals & feral morons

As previously referenced Blackpool Transport has not only to deal with idiot vehicle drivers crashing their vehicles into walls, houses and on to tram tracks - but also the lamentable social breakdown prevalent in today's society. The new buses which came with such a proud reception have had their powerpoint sockets turned off to avoid bored young passengers infilling them with varied substances.

More costly is the tendency in certain parts of the town for buses (and shelters) becoming targets for stone throwing youths. In some cases drivers have refused to take their buses through some areas after a spate of incidents. Not that this is unique to Blackpool - not by any means. I well recall in former years that New Jersey Transit was obliged to fix protective metal mesh screens above the driver's windscreens on PCC cars on the Newark Subway line. This had several bridges over the tracks where locals found it amusing to hang heavy metal bars or other solid objects to await the next oncoming streetcar passing under the bridge - with dangerous consequences for driver and passengers. The special screens deflected such dangling obstacles to the side of the windscreen, thus avoiding the potential danger to tram drivers in particular.

A Newark (New Jersey) PCC Car in its original fleet colours of the 1970s and the mesh windscreen above the front of the driver's cab. These were made even larger in subsequent years, such was the problem at the time.

Blackpool buses are not alone in being the object of local vandals - trams passing along the section north of Cleveleys are sometimes used for target practise by idiots. Bricks, stones, bottles and air rifles being weapons of choice it seems. The tram shelters at Broadwater being especially trashed as anyone passing by those stops can immediately notice. The more expensive shelters favoured by Blackpool Council being particularly costly to replace shattered glazing panels so that resulting voids are now left 'as is'.

Leniency on the part of local magistrates already overburdened with the consequences of a maladjusted society and profusion of transplanted misfits shunted up to the seaside from other parts of the northwest - only serves to encourage transgressors with little more than slaps on proverbial wrists. Even the police have had their role diluted as 'guardians of the law' through all manner of regulatory 'thou shalt nots' i imposed by self appointed righteous minded groups, who now seem to crowd the television news screens morning noon and night, with holier than thou admonitions.

So a default button is pressed by which fare paying riders are obliged to cough up more of their hard earned wages for essential local travel. £1.70 from Layton to Blackpool this week in order to catch an 09.40 train departure from Blackpool North. I remember when it would have been 2d ride - possibly 4d !

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