Today BBC London News is reporting that youth bus crime, crimes committed by the under-16 age group, have gone up by 56%.
The BBC says:
Reported youth crime on buses has shot up by 55% since the introduction of free bus travel for under 16-year-olds.
There were 5,701 reports in the year since the scheme went live in September 2005 compared with 3,666 in the previous year, official figures show.
The Transport for London (TfL) figures were obtained by BBC London under the Freedom of Information Act.
TfL tries to belittle these figures by suggesting that “the figures represent less than one crime report for every 250,000 journeys”. They are dead wrong. The figures represent 16 crimes a day and TfL undermine their own argument by spending £70 million a year to deploy 1,200 police community safety officers (PCSOs) on the bus network. I assume they are spending £70 million because there is a problem.
I am not a fan of giving all kids free travel at all times. To go to school maybe, but anyone travelling on the buses today sees too many insolent kids treating drivers and fellow passengers appallingly.
It is a shame that the BBC has to winkle these figures out of TfL with the Freedom of Information Act. Don’t expect to see the Mayor’s expensive media machine to address these figures directly.