Monday, 14 January 2008

The trials of bus journeys in these ends


A friend has just told me she feels very safe on London buses because they have cameras.

People like her are getting harder to find.

Notwithstanding the increase in the number of CCTV cameras that Transport for London has placed on buses, a London Assembly report released on Friday says the rate of crime remains higher than two years ago and passengers feel less safe on buses than on other mode of public transport.

Transport for London has slammed this report as miselading.

One of the main bus routes in East London is the bus 25, running from Oxford Circus to Ilford.

It is also one of the most notorious routes in London: from 2003 – 2006 it generated the highest numbers of bus crime reports.

Other main routes in the East End i.e. the 8 and 86 also feature on the list.

I’ve witnessed some criminal fights on the 25, and some nasty incidents.

More recently, an elderly man was amlost badly beaten by a youth who happened to be sitting next to me.

Out of nowhere, the youth began swearing the man and shouting stuff like: ‘You’re a Polish immigrant! Get out of our country …’

The old man tried, in the best English he could muster, to indicate that he was sorry for ‘offending’ the youth and begged to be left alone.

This was not enough for the youth, who got even more aggressive. He stood on the seat and pointed to his ankle:

‘Do you see what’s on my ankle?’ he shouted proudly, ‘It’s a mark that says “East London!”’

As he smoked his cigarette, he continued swearing and then ordered the old man to get off and have a ‘proper’ fight with him.

As the old man quietly digestested this drama, the youth suddenly spat at him.

All the while the bus was moving and, of course, the cameras were rolling.

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