Vandalism injures elderly man
Vandal ''idiots'' dismantling and smashing Hamilton bus shelters have injured another elderly bus patron, after he tripped through a void left in a frame.
The injured 83 year-old man, who suffered ''nasty'' bruising last month at a Lynden Court bus stop which was vandalised, is the second recently injured elderly patron.
City Infrastructure general manager Chris Allen said the vandals were either smashing glass panes or popping out perspex ones, leaving a hazard for users.
''We're re-thinking the type of bus shelter that we put in. The root cause is these shelters have glass panels that are being broken, or they've worked out how to pop out the perspex panes, leaving rails that are a tripping hazard,'' he said.
The council has provided the injured man with taxi vouchers to help him attend treatment for his injuries.
In May a 71-year-old woman had to endure a painful wait for reconstructive shoulder surgery after falling through a bus shelter smashed up by vandals.
Regional passenger transport committee co-chair, regional councillor Paula Southgate, whose mother was injured in the earlier incident, said she intended the issue to be discussed when the committee met this week.
She said the city council response to the latest act of vandalism - to put traffic cones in front of the bus shelter panel - had not been satisfactory.
"I don't think that's good enough. I'm a bit surprised to hear a very similar incident has happened again. We can only exert some pressure because I'm sure we all want a safe bus service."
Council staff are now putting more substantial barriers in while repairs were effected, and bracing the perspex panels so they are impossible to remove.
''We take it very seriously, this was a lovely old gentleman who tripped over, we've been to see him and he's recovering well. It was fairly nasty given his age and the impact, but he's a neat old gentleman, and pretty resiliant, so he's coming right, but it could have been a lot more serious,'' said Mr Allen.
Longer-term the council would look at standardising shelters, to replace the half-dozen or more designs which were prone to vandals to varying degrees.
The council spends more than $40,000 a year repairing bus shelters, with the replacement perspex panes costing up to $480 each, plus labour, each time.
''It's very frustrating because that's our rates money they're wasting as well, it creates a hazard particularly for older users, but they're targets for idiots.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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