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Shopping centre boss directs traffic after 'truly dangerous' bus breakdown

PUBLISHED: 13:34 29 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:16 29 August 2019

Broken down bus on Magdalen Street, close to Cowgate. PIC: Peter Walsh.

Broken down bus on Magdalen Street, close to Cowgate. PIC: Peter Walsh.

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A shopping centre boss and security staff stepped in to direct traffic after a bus broke down on a busy street and created a "truly dangerous" situation.

Eric Kirk, who criticised First's handling of a broken down bus on Magdalen Street. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIEEric Kirk, who criticised First's handling of a broken down bus on Magdalen Street. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

On Wednesday at around 1pm, a First bus broke down at a pedestrian crossing on Magdalen Street, partially blocking the road near the entrance with Cowgate, near Anglia Square.

The vehicle, which reportedly had around 12 passengers on it when it broke down, was stuck at the crossing until 4.30pm, during which time it prevented pedestrians from being able to safely use the crossing and caused traffic jams to build up towards Tombland.

Following the incident Eric Kirk, the manager of Anglia Square, criticised First's handling of the situation, saying the broken down bus caused chaos for bus users, motorists and pedestrians.

Mr Kirk said he and his team were forced to take control of what he described as "a truly dangerous situation" after a First bus engineer left the scene.

He said: "Myself and Anglia Square security took charge of the situation and using two-way radios started to direct traffic with the intention of relieving the traffic pressure and improving safety."

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Mr Kirk said he and his colleagues also called the police to alert them to the situation. He said: "Fortunately myself and the team are trained and used to controlling traffic, [we took] charge while waiting for the police."

The bus company has defended its handling of the situation.

Cliff Hussey, operations manager at First Eastern Counties, said the company's engineer was not been able to assist with traffic because they were busy trying to fix the bus.

He said: "We seconded one of our operations team to the incident and in turn helped with guiding pedestrians and traffic around the broken down vehicle in liaison with the police.

"It was very unfortunate that the breakdown happened in such an inconvenient location which made it difficult for everyone involved in managing the situation. I would like to thank the Anglia Square security team for their assistance in helping manage what was a difficult situation to deal with."

A spokesperson for Norfolk Constabulary confirmed officers were called to Magdalen Street at 1.49pm to help with traffic management and left at 2.20pm.

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