Why do people keep attacking the 24 bus?
In the last month, a Sheffield bus route has been pelted with eggs, stones and even bricks
Last week, bus company First was forced to take an unusual and rather extreme step, placing a three-day “curfew” on the 24 bus through Manor, due to weeks of “repeated attacks”. From 6pm onwards, drivers were instructed to avoid a specific road or else, a First Bus spokesperson told The Tribune, they risked being pelted with eggs, stones and even bricks.
Victoria Munro’s investigation uncovered a group of teenagers at the heart of this disorder, who some local residents and business owners allege are racially abusive and often carrying weapons. At this point, you may not be feeling an overwhelming amount of sympathy for such a group. But is a curfew really the answer?
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🎤 On Saturday evening, the Showroom is hosting a celebration of 50 Years of Hip Hop. Expect to hear music dating from the genre’s inception — including legends like DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and The Sugarhill Gang — from rap’s mainstream explosion in the 80s and 90s — with Public Enemy, N.W.A., the Wu-Tang Clan, Missy Elliott, and Tupac Shakur — and modern-day pioneers like Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator and Cardi B.
🏮 As darkness falls on Saturday, Parkwood Springs will be lit by a procession of handmade lanterns and filled with the sound of samba music for the Parkwood Springs Lantern Procession. Beginning at Cooks Wood Road, the procession will set off through the woods to the viewpoint, led by the Sheffield Samba Band. Food and other stalls will be open from 4.30pm, and the procession will set off at 5.45pm. It is expected to finish at about 7pm.
🌱 On Sunday, 15 October, Pollen Inner-City Flower Market returns to Grey to Green in Castlegate for their monthly celebration of all things botanical (10am-4pm). As well as lots of plants, expect street food, drink and live music. The last Quayside Market of the year will also take place at Victoria Quays on Saturday between 12-9pm. Food this month comes from Dirty Chicken and Pellizco, while drinks will be provided by True Loves and the Dorothy Pax.
Why do people keep attacking the 24 bus?
By Victoria Munro
Spend enough time living in a so-called “bad area” and, when something bad happens, you’ll stop bothering to wonder why. Take Manor, a sprawling “garden city” housing estate to the east of Sheffield, originally built in the 1930s to reduce overcrowding in the city. In 1995, the Labour MP Roy Hattersley, who grew up in Sheffield, described it as “the worst estate in Britain”. Twenty years later, data compiled by the council showed Manor Castle was the most deprived ward in Sheffield, with a median household income of less than £20,000.
This is probably why there was little surprise last week, when bus company First announced it was placing a three-day “curfew” on a section of the 24 route that runs through Manor. From 6pm, drivers were instructed to avoid Castlebeck Avenue — for their own safety, and the safety of passengers. A spokesperson for First Bus in South Yorkshire told The Tribune that, over the previous four weeks, buses travelling along this road had been attacked with eggs, stones and even bricks. “We don’t want anyone injured through these mindless acts of vandalism,” they said, although thankfully no drivers or passengers have been harmed so far.
According to residents, this is not a new problem. Sally Gouldthorpe, a 29-year-old I met at the bus stop, said drivers are becoming so nervous about driving through Manor that she had been on multiple 24 buses in the last year that refused to go any further than Manor Park, instead forcing all their passengers off and heading straight back into town. She believes the temporary curfew was a measure First Bus introduced to appease them. “In my opinion, they collectively got together and said no to coming this way because people were attacking them.”
If true, they did so without the help of their union — a spokesperson from the local branch of Unite told me he had no knowledge of the issue. First Bus’ spokesperson insisted the decision was made “solely to protect our drivers and people travelling on buses,” adding that they were working with police to identify those involved.
But why would anyone attack a bus? And how do you convince them to stop? With these questions in mind I boarded the 24 to Castlebeck Avenue — once they started running again — in order to chat to locals.
Almost everyone I speak to in Manor is aware that local teenagers are behind what First describes as “repeated attacks” on its buses. They like to congregate in the carpark of the Lidl, which overlooks the bus route, hurl things and then run into the nearby woods. If that doesn’t appeal, they run riot in the Lidl itself, or else stand outside a short row of mostly shuttered shops nearby and smash bottles for fun. Multiple people I meet hold their hands about 12 inches apart to demonstrate the size of the knives they’ve seen kids pull out, knives as long as the kid’s arm in some cases.
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