GMB Congress calls for better bus safety regime
GMB Congress calls for better bus safety regime following rising number of deaths caused by collisions in London
According to the latest available figures, there have been 34 fatalities and over two thousand incidents requiring hospital attention involving London buses since the start of 2015, says GMB Congress
GMB Congress have today (Tuesday 5 June) called for a better bus safety regime, following the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by collisions involving public transport buses.
Bus collisions in London for have increased year on year since 2012, with last year’s record bus collisions totalling 28,010 or over 77 bus collisions per day and 3.2 serious injuries per day. [See notes to editors for text of motion]
A report by London Assembly called ‘Driven to Distraction’ released in July 2017 revealed that in the two years 2015 and 2016 over 12,000 people were injured and 25 were killed as a result of safety incidents involving TfL buses. [See notes to editors for copy of the report]
Tom Kearney, a campaigner for safer buses after an accident on Oxford Street put him in a coma, has listed three lessons Bus Transport Workers can campaign for to improve the Operational Safety Performance Environment across UK’s Bus Network. They are; Bus Transport Workers should campaign for Road Safety Incidents to be investigated just like Rail and Tram Safety Incidents; Bus Transport Workers should create a Union-organised National Confidential Safety Reporting Service open to all UK Bus Transport Workers; and Bus Transport Works must campaign to reclassify Late Work especially that on a permanent basis as “Night Work”.
The 101st GMB Congress in Brighton, comprises of 500 elected lay members and 300 visitors and guests. GMB Congress delegates were elected from the GMB membership to represent over 640,000 members from every part of the UK and Ireland and every sector of the economy. Congress is the supreme policy making body in GMB.
Tom Kearney, Campaigner for #LondonBusWatch said:
“On 9 November 2016, the Croydon Tram operated by FirstGroup Tram Operations Limited on a 30 Year Contract with Transport for London (TfL), overturned and crashed, with 7 passengers killed and the remaining 62 injured, 19 of whom seriously. The Croydon Tram Crash marked the first train-related fatality in the United Kingdom after 8 years of a fatality-free operation.
“Because the Croydon Tram was contracted, managed and regulated by TfL’s Bus Bosses, in my opinion, the Croydon Tram should be considered to be a Bus Operation. But, while the Croydon Tram was a Bus until it crashed, the investigation of this incident presents a huge opportunity for Bus Drivers to force some positive changes for UK Bus Operations.
“Based on what we've already learned from the RAIB and TfL's own investigations, I believe that there are at least three lessons already learned Bus Transport Workers can campaign for now to improve the Operational Safety Performance Environment across UK’s Bus Network.”
Warren Kenny, GMB Regional Secretary said:
“Every death on our transport networks is a tragedy, and we should aim to minimise the risk of harm to cyclists, pedestrians, passengers and other transport users to the greatest extent possible. According to the latest available figures, there have been 34 fatalities and over two thousand incidents requiring hospital attention involving London buses since the start of 2015.
“Collisions also represent a serious risk to bus staff who deserve a safe working environment and must not be penalised for incidents beyond their control, and we note that the bus driver 'bill of rights' referred to in the motion called for a right to a 'safe work schedule.' This motion draws attention to the problem of the structuring of London bus route contracts, an issue that has also been raised by the London Assembly's Transport Committee.
“Although London's contractual model is currently an exception, the passage of the Bus Services Act (2017) makes it likely that similar schemes will be introduced in other areas of the country so it is especially important that any issues in the London bus contracting model are addressed (although it is important that any changes to contract incentives do not result in pressure being placed on staff to avoid reporting incidents in the first place).
“The Department for Transport already publishes both bus and road safety statistics. We believe that the Department for Transport (and other national authorities) should be responsible for overseeing a new reporting system and for providing new funding as required to enable local authorities to set up any necessary reporting structures that feed in to a national publication.”
Contact: Vaughan West 07967 342197 or Steve Garelick 07967 763 980 or GMB London Press Office 07970 114 762
Notes to Editors
1] GMB Congress Motion
380. BUS COLLISIONS
This Conference is appalled by the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by collisions involving public transport buses. This is a matter of great concern for GMB members and their families.
Bus collisions in London for example have increased year on year since 2012, with last year‘s record bus collisions totalling 28,010 or over 77 bus collisions per day and 3.2 serious injuries per day. Conference considers that 3.2 persons being seriously injured every day by collisions of London buses is totally unacceptable.
A report by London Assembly -Driven to Distraction released in July 2017 revealed that in the two years 2015 and 2016 over 12,000 people were injured and 25 were killed as a result of safety incidents involving TfL buses.
The Mayor has a responsibility to act to reduce this unnecessary injury and loss of life. In addition, local Councillors across the country also need to act to protect road users from unnecessary bus collisions.
The numbers of collisions and the numbers injured in the rest of the country is not known as the information is not published. It is only available in London following a 5 year campaign by survivors of bus collisions to get the information published. The Mayor of London‘s current contracts incentivises bus operators to meet punctuality targets, but not to reduce collisions and injuries. Safety targets and incentives are essential in all bus operations contracts.
In September 2014, TfL bus drivers protested in front of City Hall and presented The Mayor of London with a Bill of Rights, many of which deal with concerns resulting from poor working conditions and safety practices identified in the London Assembly Report. Similar cuts in terms and conditions have occurred for bus workers across the country.
Conference is concerned that even though Boris Johnson announced on 1 February 2016 that bus contracts would be updated to include safety ¯incentives over the next three months‖ that in July 2016 Sadiq Khan delayed that promised action for another 18 months until the end of 2017 and then in November 2017 TfL‘s response to the Bus Safety Investigation was postponed again to the end 2018.
Conference calls on:
· The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan to speed up the changes needed in the contract to reduce death and injuries in the Capital.
· The CEC to campaign for bus operators across the country to have their contracts changed to give them incentives for a reduction in the numbers of deaths and serious injuries caused by collisions by public transport buses.
· The CEC and regions to raise with local authorities the necessity of improving the monitoring and reporting of the Operational Safety Performance of public transport buses across the UK and where necessary change contracts to avoid unnecessary death and injuries.
· The CEC and regions to raise with local authorities to act on the urgent requirement for information on bus collisions to be published. BARNET PUBLIC SERVICES BRANCH London Region
2] London Assembly report – ‘Driven to Distraction’ (July 2017)