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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Public transport safety officers now patrolling Lancashire buses

Specially trained Public Transport Safety Officers are now patrolling buses and bus stations around Lancashire.

The new trial project is aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour on public transport across the county and will see the dedicated officers at bus stations and on buses.

It’s hoped the officers on the ground will not only reduce the problem, but also help ensure people know exactly how to flag any issues.

They will be deployed where they’re most needed, thanks to close work between the county council and its partners in the transport sector and Lancashire Police.

Meanwhile, the new public transport safety officers will also play a vital role in educating people about what anti-social behaviour actually is and how it can seriously intimidate and affect other people, as well as being on hand to support people if they have any questions about using buses.

Lancashire is just one of four areas nationwide to take part in the trial scheme, with the county council granted funding from the Department of Transport until March next year.

Photo 9  - Senior Public Transport Safety Officer Duncan WhiteheadDuncan Whitehead, manager of the new team of Public Transport Safety Officers (pictured right), was at Preston Bus Station for the launch of the scheme. He said: “It’s mine and my team’s job to help everyone to feel safer using the bus and to help deter anti-social behaviour, so you might see me and my colleagues on patrol at on your local bus service, or at bus stations across the county.

“We’ll be chatting to staff and passengers to find out if they have any safety concerns or issues using buses which we can help with, and helping people to recognise what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour when using the bus, where we can.

“I’m one of a team of seven that will be responding to reports of anti-social behaviour, so we can provide help when it’s needed.

“If you have experienced anti-social behaviour on your bus journey, please report it to us by text to 81018 and start your message ‘Lancashire’.”

County councillor Rupert Swarbrick, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for Highways and Transport, and County councillor Scott Smith, lead member for Highways and Active Travel, were among a special delegation who visited Preston Bus Station today to mark the start of the scheme.

Councillor Swarbrick said: “I’m delighted to see some of our new  Public Transport Safety Officers here at Preston Bus Station today, as I think it will make a real difference in tackling and deterring anti-social behaviour across our transport network.

“By providing a visible presence, they will reassure passengers that we will not tolerate anti-social behaviour on our bus network. I look forward to working closely with our transport and police partners to deploy these officers where they’re most needed, and ensure they make the biggest possible impact in helping everyone feel safe while using the bus.”

County Councillor Scott Smith, lead member for Highways and Active Travel, said: “I’m very pleased to see our new Public Transport Safety Officers out and about, meeting and talking to members of the public today.

“This is just one of many measures to improve public transport. We’re investing £41.96m utilising funding from HM Government through the Bus Service Improvement Plan Scheme Plan to make Lancashire’s buses more frequent, reliable and affordable. Making sure everyone feels safe is also crucial to attracting more people to use the bus for regular journeys.”



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