Burlco bus service to resume after tire vandalism

October 5, 2011 3:14:16 PM PDT
A vandalism spree that targeted more than 30 buses in South Jersey led to a scramble to get alternative transportation for the disabled and for senior citizens on Wednesday.

Paratransit for Seniors and People with Disabilities and the BurLink fixed route for the general public couldn't operate on Wednesday after their Cherry Hill bus depot on Route 38 was hit by vandals overnight.

Director of Operations Judy Sturm explains at least 108 tires were hit on around 30 vehicles, leaving the fleet at a standstill this morning.

The company says service will be back to normal on Thursday.

Action News is told that in recent months the company spent about $50,000 in general upkeep to replace the tires. But this act of vandalism could amount to more than $30,000 worth of damage.

At least 108 tires were slashed, but some of the duel tires are starting to sag so the count could be even be more, leaving the fleet at a standstill and folks in Burlington County scrambling to get to work to get to medical appointments.

Mary Curry of Moorestown tells Action News, "Bottom line: If I don't get dialysis, I die. It's just that simple. For somebody to do that - to hurt people that way is horrible."

Curry, a resident of Moorestown, relies on the Burlington County Transportation Bus System to bring her to dialysis three times a week. Today the county organized a car for her to get to her appointment after the tires were slashed on the bus service. Both she and her brother are disabled and unable to drive, furious at the perpetrators.

Gregor Smith, Curry's brother, said of the vandals, "You better look in the mirror and grow up, and turn yourself in."

Sturm says, "We thought at first it was just a couple. But they punctured it. It looks like it was something sharp, like an ice pick."

Now the investigation begins as to who could be behind this. The company's contract with the county is up at the end of the year and there's concern about the possibility the vandalism was a way to make the company look bad.

The company owner, Fran Martin explains, "This was a very calculated program they ran. We had our other vehicles here, which serve as school buses, which are our own vehicles - none of those were touched - just Burlington County Vehicles."

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