OPINION: New bye-laws coming into effect from February 13th 2022 are useless if not enforced

The following is reproduced from the Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) website.

In February 2019 a consultation took place to help us understand the views of people across the West Midlands regarding anti-social behaviour on buses, at bus station premises, bus stops and shelters.

The consultation was to review the proposal of new byelaws that would tackle low level, antisocial behaviour across the West Midlands region.

The Byelaws have been made on 14 January 2022 and will come into force on 13 February 2022.

These byelaws will be applied to bus stations, bus shelters and bus stops.

Queuing

Any person who fails to follow a notice to queue and obey reasonable instructions of any authorised person regulating the queue, would be breaking the byelaw.

Drunkenness, drugs and unfit to travel

Anyone who causes a nuisance and distresses other passengers due to being drunk, under the influence of drugs or in a physical condition deemed unfit to travel (e.g soiling the bus), would be breaking the byelaw.

Following safety instructions and causing obstruction

Anyone who does not observe safety instructions and causes an obstruction would be breaking a byelaw. This includes obstructing bus stops and bus stations.

Actions in stations/ premises and unauthorised access or loitering

Anyone who enters an area where they are advised not to would be breaking the byelaw.

Anyone who misuses facilities including escalators, ticket barriers, lifts, etc would be breaking the byelaw. Anyone who loiters on premises or obstructs or authorised persons if they are asked to leave, would also be breaking the byelaw.

Unacceptable behaviour

Anyone who uses offensive or obscene language, or acts in a way which is threatening, intimidating or unpleasant to other people would be breaking the byelaw. This includes spitting, leaving litter and damaging the bus station, bus stop or bus whilst at the bus station or stop.

Pedestrian only areas

Anyone who enters a bus station must do so on foot unless told and permitted to do otherwise. Not to do this would be breaking the byelaw.

Control of animals

You may be refused to enter a bus station or stop if you have an animal which may annoy, soil or damage any person or the bus stop, station or vehicle. If you are allowed to bring an animal onto bus premises and it soils or damages the bus stop or station the byelaw would be broken.

General safety

Any behaviour which is likely to cause someone an injury or put a person’s life at risk, damage any property or inconvenience other passengers would be breaking the byelaw. This would include but isn’t limited to, misusing or releasing automatic doors, or not following instructions given by an authorised person.


Opinion

In principle, I don’t disagree with the reasoning behind the introduction of these bye-laws, and I doubt many people would object to their introduction. These all seem ‘common sense’ to me, and some of these new bye-laws are already part of existing ‘terms of carriage’ stipulated by bus operators.

The problem as I see it is that it is currently unclear how these bye-laws are to be enforced, and by whom.

It’s all very well bringing in new laws or bye-laws, but if they are not actively enforced then it is all just a waste of time.

As for the bye-law on ‘queuing’, well it has to be said that TfWM haven’t really done themselves much of a favour, due to their choice of bus shelters and bus station design.

Thinking about Birmingham city centre for a moment as an example of this, I remember the days ‘pre-Metro’ when many buses used to terminate on Corporation Street. The older style bus shelters, with their ‘staggered’ entry and exit openings, lent themselves to the formation of orderly queues, starting within the shelter itself and then ‘snaking’ onto the surrounding pavement.

People were generally much more polite and civilised though, but you’d always have a few inconsiderate people who would try and ‘jump the queue’ by going around the shelter to push in.

With TfWM’s preferred ‘open shelter’ design nowadays, there is often no ‘natural’ queue that is allowed to form, hence why as soon as a bus pulls up and opens its doors, it becomes a ‘free for all’ with people swarming from all sides to board the bus, even while other passengers are trying to disembark.

It is a sad reflection on society that this does happen at all, many people are just completely selfish with no consideration or regard given to anyone else.

And it’s not just in the city centre where you have large crowds of people waiting for buses. Even at my local stops out in the suburbs, you may get five or six people who’ve politely formed some kind of queue at a stop, intending to allow each to take their turn to board the bus, only for someone to just ‘sneak up’ and force their way onboard ahead of that queue.

So with regard to the bye-law on queuing, unless you are going to have police officers patrolling every single bus stop or bus station in the region, there is no way this is ever going to be actively enforced.

Some people will just do exactly what they like, as they have always done, and damn the consequences.

Have your say by commenting below. Please also consider joining our Community and get involved with discussing issues and concerns with other West Midlands Bus Users.

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jack
jack
13 days ago

It was just a few weeks ago actually that there were some people smoking in the concourse at New Street actually.

jack
jack
13 days ago

Against the law to smoke at bus stops/train stations on trains and buses and some people have in the past shown have been seen to show no consideration to other customers. Think that says a lot itself.

jack
jack
13 days ago
Reply to  Stu Johnson

Yes I think its things like that are a good example how a small minority of individuals do show no consideration to other customers. On one occasion a a few years ago an elderly man asked someone to stop on the 11 and the person then became abusive towards him. Thankfully the majority of bus users would not behave in such a way. And I and others would find any unpleasant actions towards other customers to be intolerable.

Also I came across a pile of old clothes in an enclosed bus stop on the Alum Rock Road yesterday scattered all over the floor. With better consideration someone could have found a better way to discard of it, rather than fouling the bus stop.

John Rose
John Rose
13 days ago
Reply to  jack

Well said, Stu. Mere window-dressing, sadly. How about evidence of enforcing face masks? Anyone seen any?

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