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Sustainable Transport
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TOPIC: Etching graffiti on glass. Are we really addressing the problem or just scratching the surface?

Etching graffiti on glass. Are we really addressing the problem or just scratching the surface? #1

Some graffiti can be extremely offensive. Sadly offensive graffiti apparently changes perceptions of safety of passengers so it is also a really effective way of reducing the numbers who feel safe using public transport. The British Transport Police site states it would cost about £38million to replace all of the graffiti-etched windows on every Tube train.

Vandals etching glass on public transport is a multi billion pound blight that sadly also creates a large associated carbon footprint.

Hundreds of thousands of staff hours are taken up in cleaning, repairs and policing. London Underground alone devotes some 70,000 hours a year just to cleaning up graffiti.

Does anyone have experience, views or even better success stories in reducing this problem in a cost effective way.
Please share your thoughts and experience?

Re: Etching graffiti on glass. Are we really addressing the problem or just scratching the surface? #2

Southern takes eradication of graffiti very seriously and we invest in provision of CCTV at all sites where trains are berthed when not in use, as well as on depots and stations. Of course trespass in these areas to 'tag' trains and property also represents serious security and safety risks so this is a primary concern for us - prevention is better than cure.

On graffiti specifically we work on the basis that where property looks cared for it is less likely to be attacked, but we do still spend a great deal of time and effort on removing any type of graffiti as quickly as possible. The link below will take you to two short films we created showing the cleaning work done overnight at our Littlehampton depot, one of our smaller sites, and also the work being done on our train refresh project, renewing our carriages at an incredible rate!

Keeping a focus is the key to success for us, the evidence is in the appearance of our trains and stations, all testament to our highly successful Fleet and Security Teams.

Re: Etching graffiti on glass. Are we really addressing the problem or just scratching the surface? #3

We witnessed a school child using a black felt tip pen writing on the back of one of the bus seats so we contacted the school who identified the pupil and called up his parents for a meeting. We gave the parents 2 options.

1. Pay for the graffiti to be removed or we would contact the police
2. Arrange for the pupil to visit our depot on a Saturday morning to clean the graffiti off under the supervision of his parents and engineering staff

They chose option 2 and we have never had any graffiti on the same service since which is heavily used during school start and finish times. It helps that all our buses are fitted with CCTV and audio. Which is a great deterrent.

Re: Etching graffiti on glass. Are we really addressing the problem or just scratching the surface? #4

Thank you so much for the opportunity to give feedback from the frontline. As my staff do not all have e-mails I have been requested to post their separate replies on the Forum?
I hope this is ok and hopefully our feedback can help with this problem..
Last Edit: by Kauser Aslam.

Re: Etching graffiti on glass. Are we really addressing the problem or just scratching the surface? #5

Craig – Operations Supervisor
Part of my job is ensuring that all the vehicles that leave our garage are serviceable, if one has been subjected to graffiti it is not serviceable and as such it is feasible that there may be some of a service dropped. People don’t realise the impact that one small decision can have on others.

Re: Etching graffiti on glass. Are we really addressing the problem or just scratching the surface? #6

Adam - Driver
Graffiti is art in some circumstances, it’s an excellent way to express oneself, however setting fire to fabric, slashing seats and painting stantion poles, is nothing more than destructive.

Re: Etching graffiti on glass. Are we really addressing the problem or just scratching the surface? #7

Musaf - Driver
I take pride in my vehicle, I always ensure that it is clean and tidy for the passengers, who board, and any graffiti or damage that happens whilst I am on duty, I take as a personal attack. The people doing this wouldn’t trash their things at home. So why my vehicle?

Re: Etching graffiti on glass. Are we really addressing the problem or just scratching the surface? #8

Marie - Driver
I have sometimes let them deface the vehicle, so as to avoid confrontation. This isn’t a simple act of damage, this can be gang related and as such I am definitely not willing to get involved in an argument. No amount of training can protect me against the violence that follows from the confrontation.

Re: Etching graffiti on glass. Are we really addressing the problem or just scratching the surface? #9

Joe - Driver
I believe there are two types of graffiti, those that are destructive and those that are an artist’s work. It’s important that the two don’t get confused. I am massive fan of the artist Banksy, and if Im honest I would be proud to drive round with one of his designs on a bus.

Re: Etching graffiti on glass. Are we really addressing the problem or just scratching the surface? #10

Libbie – S&T Co-ordinator

Graffiti in the transport industry is rife; however it is not only carried out by the ‘Youth of today’. I have watched CCTV of a 40 year old man spray painting the back of a seat, for no other reason than he was bored. The cost of replacing the seat, with labour was approximately £500. This type of damage, if happening regularly can put a small business into liquidation, and people out of jobs. All for one thoughtless act.

Re: Etching graffiti on glass. Are we really addressing the problem or just scratching the surface? #11

I have been working as principal scientific advisor to London Underground since 1997 through my company GTECH Strategies Limited. Glass graffiti started to become evident in the mid 1990s and quickly increased in its incidence. A number of potential solutions were trialled including the polishing of glass, use of proprietary windscreen repair kits and clear varnishes. None of these trials had proved particularly successful or economically viable - hence the approach followed by London Underground was to change the worst affected pieces of glass.

In early 2003 the Underground began trialling the use of clear self-adhesive films. It was found that some (but not all) films, when applied directly on top of scratched glass, resulted in a marked reduction in the visual impact of the scratching. This is attributed to the adhesive blend use in the successful films; the viscoelasticity of the adhesive means that the molecules in the adhesive remain mobile and are able to flow into the scratches. Over a period of 3-4 weeks after application of the film, it was found that the visual impact of the scratching had reduced by 70-80% (dependent upon the severity of the scratch). It was found that the visual impact of shallow to moderate scratches was entirely obscured by the film. Subsequently fire performance tests were performed on several candidate films and it was found that 100 micron polyetser films (with the appropriate adhesive) conformed with the stringent test criteria required by London Underground.

The use of these films has revolutionised the Underground's ability to deal with the scourge of glass graffiti. Whilst the films themselves do suffer scratching it is a simple process to remove affecte pieces of film and replace them; an on-going programme of inspection and replacement ensures that the interior of carriages are maintained at the highest ambient level possible.

Re: Etching graffiti on glass. Are we really addressing the problem or just scratching the surface? #12

We hear the use of some films has revolutionised the Underground's ability to deal with the scourge of glass graffiti does anyone know if there are any statistics on how much time/money these protective films actually save London Underground…or anyone else?
Last Edit: by Ron Pusey.
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