Bus drivers are miserable gits, aren’t they, eh? All they do is sit there, driving around under pressure from a system that puts unreasonable demands on them, encourages them to drive dangerously, working unreasonable hours for low pay. Why don’t they just smile?
Or, if they have concerns or complaints, why don’t they report them?
Which leads me to the thrust of today’s post: There is no independent reporting system for bus drivers.
You should know that for almost 20 years, train drivers have had anonymous access to an independent system called CIRAS, which addresses concerns in a no-blame way. The goal of the system is to investigate concerns and eliminate the danger before something bad happens.
This is one of the reasons why Britain’s railways are so safe – drivers feel free to report concerns about safety, dangerous practice, unreasonable hours, or whatever. They can report to CIRAS, who will discuss with management and staff to resolve the problem.
The CIRAS scheme is clearly of use – Network Rail are members, as are TfL’s Underground, Overground and light rail services.
But for some reason TfL doesn’t use it for their buses. Why is this?
- The scheme already allows buses, it’s not just for trains.
- TfL already value the scheme, as they pay for their rail networks membership.
- Adding the buses most likely wouldn’t cost any extra – what TfL pays for the trains would cover the buses too, as it’s one organisation.
- And – probably the most important reason – is that TfL’s bus system is dangerous:
Every single day there are on average over 60 (yes, sixty) collisions involving TfL’s buses. (See this FOI’d data.)
A TfL bus is involved in someone being killed or seriously-injured on average more than three times every day in the first six months of 2014. (See TfL’s own bus data here.)
The number of incidents sharply increased when Mayor Johnson introduced bus performance contracts, and has been increasing ever since.
How many of them could be prevented by listening to the drivers?
If we listened to the bus drivers – and the system was changed so that they didn’t have to work over-long hours, so that they weren’t under pressure to complete routes in short timespans – then maybe we would all have reason to be more cheerful.
Thanks to Tom Kearney for most of the information here. If you don’t know about Tom, he was hit by a red-light-running bus on Oxford Street, was expected to die, woke up after two weeks in a near-death coma, and left hospital after ten weeks, to piece his life back together. He later discovered that TfL and the Metropolitan Police had failed to investigate the case (some might even say it was covered up).
This should come as no surprise, as the branch of the police which investigate bus crashes is funded by TfL – who are also responsible for the bus system! Talk about the fox being in charge of the hen-house…
Here are some links to articles on Tom’s blog, where you’ll find much more information and detail about TfL’s killer bus system:
Guest blog post from a bus driver describing the system in which they work (there’s more of these, from various drivers – they’re in-depth but worth reading)
Finally, for now, can anyone tell me why the mainstream media has ignored this issue? It seems that Tom has uncovered dangerous practices which result in thousands of casualties every year, and yet few seem interested.