London’s Dangerous Buses

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | August 4, 2015 1

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There was a time before privatisation when London Transport ran the safest buses in the world. To be a bus driver in London was a coveted, secure, pensionable job where you were expected to meet the strictest standards. Not only that London Transport did not accept just your HGV and PSV License but you had to do and pass a rigorous driving course including demonstrating your skill on a skid pan. Drivers lived in fear of the annual test for you did everything to hold on to your coveted ticket to drive a bus in London. You also did route familiarisation training with an experienced instructor on the streets where you were expected to convey passengers safely.

Not anymore. Since privatisation anybody with a PCV licence can drive a London Bus and as wages and benefits have been squeezed by the privateers  many of these drivers are agency staff or from other areas of the UK or abroad (particularly Eastern Europe) and not necessarily familiar with London’s challenging streets and traffic. Every week you gear of safety and customer service incidents with crashes and buses going under low bridges. There are numerous and increasing accidents resulting in serious injury and increasingly fatalities.

Yesterday the roof of another  busy London tour bus was ripped off after hitting a tree in the capital. A tour of London’s finest attractions ground to a halt unexpectedly, when the already partly open-top bus lost its roof after making contact with a tree in Bloomsbury.

Initial reports indicate that four passengers have been taken to hospital, with others receiving treatment for minor injuries close to the site.

It is believed the passengers had been part of a large group of Canadians visiting London for a wedding on Saturday.  Joseph Whelan was on the bus with his wife and two children. “It was like a bomb going off,” he told the Press Association.

Mr Whelan, from Canada, said he was among the group of Canadians who were in the UK for the wedding. He said the bride was also on the bus and had been taken to hospital. He described the immediate aftermath as “total chaos” and said there was “blood all over the floor”.

A spokesperson for London Fire Brigade told The Eagle that emergency crews were not aware of the nationalities on board the bus. They confirmed that fire crews received a call at 1.12pm today and three units were sent to the site of the incident.

Speaking to The Eagle, bus operator Golden Tours said: “We are aware about the incident at Russell square and our entire management (sic) is on site at the moment. We are trying to assess the situation and gather all the facts before we can come up with a statement. Our main priority is the well being of our client’s who were on the bus.”

Recently, Leon Daniels, the Managing Director of Surface Transport, Transport for London, rejected a proposal for TfL to put a clickable tab on its Website that would guide users to a page where they could: – upload video footage or a provide a link showing video footage of a TfL Bus driving dangerously or without duty of care for fellow road users (e.g., cyclists, third party drivers, or pedestrians);

The website http://stopthekilling.org.uk/direct-actions/london-bus-watch/ has been running a #LondonBusWatch: A Direct Action Protest to Improve TfL’s Bus Safety Reporting & Create Some Management Accountability. You may find the content interesting, including a Golden Tours Bus running a red light in Central London on the 29th June.

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The Skibbereen Eagle

In 1898, to widespread bemusement, a small Provincial Newspaper in an equally small town in the South West corner of Ireland sonorously warned the Czar of Russia that it knew what he was up to and he should be careful how he proceeded for “The Skibbereen Eagle” was wise to his game and in future would be keeping its eye on him! It is doubtful that Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, even noticed the Eagle’s admonitions but as history soon proved he should have paid closer attention to the Eagle’s insightful opinions!

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One Response

  • Trevor Marron

    Re Bus Crash Story. You can not drive a bus on an HGV licence. Not even one with no passengers on.