A driver sat in his cab and watched as a pensioner was viciously attacked in front of him by a group of yobs on a Bradford bus.
The gang of teens punched and kicked grandfather Fred Gilroy, 68, to the floor, only feet away from the driver’s protected cab, after he confronted them about their unruly behaviour, which included shooting him with a pellet gun.
After the yobs fled the vehicle by triggering an emergency door release, the driver apologised for not coming to his aid, saying he was not allowed to leave his cab, said Mr Gilroy.
The pensioner, who described his attackers as “evil and vicious”, has now been joined by a Bradford councillor in demanding that bus company First does more to protect passengers.
Mr Gilroy had been travelling on the upper deck of the 636 service from Bradford to his home in Clayton when a group of about five teenagers on the back seat started causing a nuisance.
He said a First staff member in uniform came upstairs to confront them, but after being met by a volley of abuse, backed off and a short time later left the bus.
Then, one of the yobs shot Mr Gilroy in the ear with a pellet gun, but when he told them off they threatened to rip his head off.
He went downstairs to speak to the driver, who pulled over. The yobs came down the stairs and surrounded him.
“They were all round me,” said Mr Gilroy. “I slung a punch myself, but it would have been like a feather duster to them at that age. They were jumping on the seats and drop-kicking. They got me down in two minutes.”
Mr Gilroy said they kept kicking him while he was on the floor before running from the bus. He said: “The bus driver said ‘I’m sorry you got a kicking, but we are not allowed to come out’.
The driver called the emergency services and Mr Gilroy was taken to hospital with severe bruising.
He later rang First to complain about its security procedures, but he said the woman he spoke to even questioned him about what he had been doing on the top deck.
He said: “The safety of people travelling during the day on the bus is at stake. If this occurs again, if a gang of lads get on, the way she was talking, they can run riot. That can’t be right. They should have some quick way of getting security to that bus.”
Councillor Sinead Engel (Lab, Clayton and Fairweather Green) said she was shocked to hear of the circumstances of the attack.
“Passengers have every right to expect to be safe travelling on buses and bus drivers have a duty of care to protect them,” she said.
“I wouldn’t want to see drivers putting themselves at risk unnecessarily, but I certainly wouldn’t have been able to just stand by and watch.”
Sergeant Alastair Milner, of the Bradford North Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This was a cowardly attack by the individuals involved, who had no cause to use such level of violence, particularly against a lone 68-year-old man.”
A First spokesman said: “We would urge anyone with information to go to the police to help catch these vile individuals. We are disappointed to hear of Mr Gilroy’s shocking experience and will work with the police.
“Our drivers are encouraged to do all that they can to assist our passengers in such difficult circumstances. As part of this process they have to consider their own safety and that of all other passengers on board the vehicle.
“If they do not feel that leaving their cab is a safe course of action then we would expect them to raise the alarm so that the emergency services can be called.”
Anyone with information about the attack, which occurred on November 7 at about 11am, should contact police on 101.