London bus drivers are planning to protest outside City Hall tomorrow arguing complaining of increasing issues in the job.
One particular bugbear seen recently is a lack of air con or fans in drivers cabs for long shifts in high heat. As a passenger, a 30 minute summer journey can sometimes be pretty horrible and a long shift can’t be pleasant or healthy.
With average bus speeds decreasing in London and congestion increasingly holding up traffic, a flow of air from windows can’t even be guaranteed in many cases. Given the impact this can have on a driver’s ability to concentrate it seems astonishing that in 2019 air con or working fans can’t be provided by default.
Those slower journeys raise another bugbear of drivers: being delayed on journeys and then suffering short breaks before heading back out.
This also impacts on toilet breaks and facilities. In addition, TfL havn’t covered themselves in glory recently. They recently installed toilets in a residential area and it probably would have been ok – if they hadn’t chosen what was quite possibly one of the ugliest structures in the known universe. If they’re going to install a toilet which could get residents backs up – at least position them in a place that isn’t directly outside homes and have a design that isn’t atrocious. It was always going to meet resistance.
There’s also the big issue of pay. Drivers barely earn enough to live in London. For many it’s impossible to afford to rent a decent one bed flat let alone a house. And if not of an age where buying was possible on a bus driver’s salary – i.e. someone who wasn’t old enough to buy in the 1990s – then no chance.
Buses in London are operated by private companies on behalf of TfL via tendered contracts. Large transport providers such as Stagecoach and Go Ahead (who part own Southeastern railway) dominate the London bus market.
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