Home   Ashford   News   Article

Stagecoach refuse entry to Ashford's Bridgefield estate at night after threats

ByCharlie Harman

A series of threatening incidents against drivers has seen a bus company refuse to enter a housing estate at night.

One incident - which took place in Ashford's Bridgefield estate - involved a teenager asking to drive a Stagecoach bus and, when he was denied, he threatened the driver.

Buses are still going over the bridge - seen here in the background - but only until 6pm
Buses are still going over the bridge - seen here in the background - but only until 6pm

Passengers were told to get off a bus to Bridgefield, Ashford, at 11.15pm on Tuesday, with the driver citing "bad kids with knives".

The passengers then had to continue their journeys on foot, despite still being charged the full fare.

One of the inconvenienced passengers said: "I couldn't believe it when he dropped us off at the bridge.

"A young couple and I were told by the driver that he couldn't go over it because there were 'bad kids with knives' around.

"I couldn't help but think if it is so dangerous, why are you making me walk through the area to get back home?"

Youths are being blamed for a number of attacks on buses. Stock image
Youths are being blamed for a number of attacks on buses. Stock image

Stagecoach has since confirmed it has decided to curtail service to the Bridgefield estate after 6pm following a number of threatening incidents.

Katherine Jones, operations manager for Stagecoach at Ashford, said: "We've had a number of incidents at Bridgefield since buses began serving the development in August 2017.

"The most recent incident on Tuesday evening involved a small group of young people who approached the bus at the Finn Farm Road bus stop. One of the youths asked if he could drive the bus and, when refused, he made some threats to the driver.

"We had another incident a couple of weeks ago in which some young people tried to block the road over the bridge leading to the development and then proceeded to kick and hit the sides of the bus."

She added that Stagecoach has reluctantly made the decision to stop serving Bridgefield after 6pm in the evenings, saying: "Given the number of incidents and the threats made to our drivers, we've had to suspend the service in the evenings.

A bridge too far... drivers are now refusing to cross the Bridgefield bridge
A bridge too far... drivers are now refusing to cross the Bridgefield bridge

"We have a zero tolerance approach to abuse of our staff and we're working closely with the police who are investigating both these incidents."

Joel Mitchell, managing director of Stagecoach South East, said: "The bus industry is all about people, those we serve in our communities and those that work in the industry.

"While we don’t take this course of action lightly, we take a zero tolerance approach to assaults and threats to our people and we won’t accept it. We are gutted that a small minority are preventing us from serving part of the community, which is what we're here for."

Buses will continue to serve Bridgefield at all other times, but after 6pm they will only run as far as Bluebell Road (Wood Lane).

Yesterday we reported how another provider had axed a route after yobs attacked a bus with polls.

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More