Murky Depths

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Transport

Bus drivers to protest this week against TfL

This is one of the oldest in the area - and is

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.

Bus struggling through badly parked cars

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.

Bus queues

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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7 Comments

  1. Charles Calthrop

    Few buses are designed with the passengers in mind. The new Routemaster is a good example: you’re unable to look out of the upper rear window to see if a connecting/faster bus is behind. The air-conditioning is exceptionally noisy for almost no output and the twin staircase only encourages confusion on the top deck. Yet somehow time was found to place an escape hatch in the roof.

    Begin simply: ban chicken wings/under 16s in uniform on buses. 90% of the antisocial element lies within these two elements

    • Ian

      Chicken wings?

      Why not say black young people?

      • Charles Calthrop

        That’s lazy thinking. Kids love chicken and chips: it’s affordable, and chicken wings offer a greater bang-for-buck compared to other portable foods. The stench of meat and heated vinegar is vile – why you believe that any one race has claim derails from the original point. I don’t enjoy sitting on an overheated bus with chicken-eating teenagers sprawled across the seats. I don’t enjoy the smell of processed food and certainly don’t enjoy my environs being spoiled by food debris or low price energy drink bottles.

        Now imagine how much it affects the bus driver, who has their place of work soiled by such behaviour, to say nothing of the clear-up at the end of the journey.

        • peterside

          Great observation. I would love food banned in busses end of. They leave leftovers on the seats and floors. Bottles and plastic drinks left in the bus. Bottles role over the bus floors and sometimes smashed from falling from the upper deck

        • Trickledown Clown

          Yawn! If you could afford to be as middle class as you pretend to be in every post, you wouldn’t live with the rabble. Leave the Victorian puritanism to Dickens.

    • Chris Nash

      And these under-16s are going to get to school… how? I’d think you’d want them to attend school rather than not being able to get there and loitering aimlessly on the streets, or having their parents be forced to take them by car, increasing congestion on the roads.

  2. CDT

    I fully support the bus drivers in this protest. Health and safety has to play an important part in this. Making sure that the bus drivers are working in safe and comfortable conditions has to be top of the agenda.

    Bus drivers have a lot of responsbility carrying hundreds of passengers every day. With the buses they drive getting busier due to cuts in frequencies and changes to routes.

    Air conditioning and or fans in drivers cabs are essential while driving in hot weatherto help keep drivers comfortable and alert, It is alo very important that drivers get their correct breaks during their shifts.

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