Bus company calls for action after unruly schoolchildren 'run riot' on town route
PUBLISHED: 13:16 14 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:18 14 November 2019
The problem of unruly schoolchildren "running riot" on public buses as they make their way home has prompted calls for action.
Rowdy youngsters are said to have an "utter disregard" for the public according to one First Bus driver who has singled out the 3.13pm number 8 service as among the worst.
The bus runs from Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital, through the Magdalen Estate, High Street, and Southtown Road to Great Yarmouth,
He claims the pupils from Cliff Park Ormiston Academy are "running riot".
He said: "Bus drivers are professional workers tasked with driving to a very high standard and ensuring the comfort and safety of our passengers, and this cannot be done with such pupils on board."
Alvin Parker, operations manager at First Great Yarmouth confirmed there was an issue.
He said: "We have experienced some unruly behaviour recently by students travelling on our service 8 which we have been made aware has caused some inconvenience to other passengers travelling in the afternoon.
"I have a meeting arranged with Cliff Park High school to discuss the matter with the intention of identifying the students involved and to ensure the situation involving the behaviour of the students is improved."
A spokesperson for the academy said: "We are proud of the high standards of behaviour and discipline at our academy.
"We have well-established codes of conduct for our students and the vast majority adhere to these and are extremely well-behaved.
"We pride ourselves on being a community school and recognise our wider responsibilities to the local area and community we serve.
"We do not tolerate behaviour that does not meet these standards, even if it is by a small minority.
"Our staff have attended the bus stop to ensure good behaviour. Where there has been behaviour below the high standards we expect, students have been dealt with in line with our behaviour policy, receiving the appropriate sanctions.
"Where this behaviour falls outside our remit, we have been working closely with both First Bus and the Police to address it.
"The director of First Bus is also due to attend the school next week, to meet students who regularly use the service and to engage in restorative work to help them understand the consequences of their actions, which we hope will put a stop to this behaviour."
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So what's it actually like as a passenger?
Although the driver's concerns related to the top deck of a double decker only a single arrived on the day our reporter paid her fare.
She joined a swarm of Cliff Park Ormiston pupils, who looked to be from the lower years.
One woman at the front of the queue said she wouldn't get on because the students were "a nightmare", preferring to take her chances on another, less congested service.
And there was no proper queueing just a huge press and push as they jostled to be with their mates and get the best seats.
From the outset the mostly-male group shouted foul language at each other and made inappropriate sexual references and insults.
There was jostling, pushing and shoving, climbing about over the seats, constantly swapping places, ringing the bell multiple times, opening and closing windows, and items being thrown.
Some boys kicked and pushed at the seats in front to get the attention of other children sitting in them.
Abuse was shouted loudly, with some whooping at each other and being generally riotous.
Some knocked into other passengers.
One pupil sitting next to our reporter moved to the front saying she wanted to get away from them and branded their behaviour "embarrassing."
As the journey continued and pupil numbers reduced as they got off (some making only very short journeys) the group settled down playing games on their phones although there was some loud, inappropriate conversation about pornography.
A mother and her young daughter of about nine, looked uncomfortable and when the girl looked worried the mother told her it was better than having to stand.
Members of the public exchange glances, but generally keep their heads down.
The main issue was the really foul language spurted out at full volume in front of much younger children and people who didn't want to hear it.
However, in an odd nod to manners, most thanked the driver as they got off.