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GMB call on Mayor for action over deaths and injuries caused by London buses

GMB have called on Mayor of London for decisive action on "chilling" numbers killed and injured by outsourced London bus operators after 6,725 cases of death/injury in 12 months to end June 2018.

GMB have called for decisive action to secure an end to the current position where 8 were killed and 719 very seriously injured (an average of 2 per day) in safety incidents involving the fleet of buses operated for the Mayor of London in the 12 months to between July 2017 and June 2018. A new study by GMB London of official figures published quarterly by Transport for London since 2014 has found that the Borough of Westminster topped the London league with 411 total cases including 37 serious injuries and 70 minor injuries requiring hospital attention. These cases involved people being killed and injured by buses operated by outsourced operators for TfL in the year to end June 2018. Next in the league was Southwark, which had a total of 334 cases including 37 serious injuries and 42 minor injuries; Lewisham had a total of 313 cases including 29 serious injuries and 43 minor; Croydon had 303 cases, including 34 serious and 29 minor; Lambeth had 292 cases, 43 serious and 28 minor; and Haringey had 287 cases, 51 serious and 23 minor. The same figures show that for London as a whole 8 people were killed and 719 seriously injured during these 12 months. 

GMB London Region is campaigning for the safe operation of TfL buses in London. This follows a resolution on bus safety and the public carried at the GMB Congress earlier this year. Sadiq Khan is aware of the serious problem and said that figures were "chilling". Extract from the letter from Sadiq Khan to #LondonBusWatch Bus Safety Campaign dated 10 December 2018 includes: “I agree with you that the statistics included in Michael Liebreich’s report are chilling, and I can assure you that I am not complacent on this issue. It is absolutely unacceptable for anyone to be killed or seriously injured on our transport network. We have an extremely long way to go to reach the targets I have set, and we will need a cultural shift to get there. My Vision Zero Action Plan shows how TfL and other organisations in London are starting to create this shift, and I am determined to keep driving this until we see the rapid improvement that is so badly needed.”

Warren Kenny, GMB Regional Secretary said: “We know that Sadiq Khan considers that the statistics on the numbers killed and injured are ‘chilling’. “So what is needed is decisive action from the top to change the culture at Transport for London to make the safe operation of buses by the outsourced private for-profit operators the top priority. “It's not the top priority under the current contracts. Punctuality has the highest priority and profit margins are linked to punctuality records. This has to change. “The safe operation of buses by the outsourced operators must be made TfL's top priority. We have to see an end to the current position where 8 people were killed and 719 very seriously injured by the fleet of buses operated for the Mayor of London in the 12 months to end June 2018. “GMB know that safety culture change in organisations has to come from the very top. Sadiq Khan has to get a grip on the problem he inherited from the past managers who designed the outsourced killing machine that TFL presides over. Nothing less than fundamental reform of the Bus System's contract performance incentives to include safety is acceptable." Tom Kearney, Founder of #LondonBusWatch and TfL Bus Crash Survivor said: “This month marks the ninth anniversary of when an Arriva Route 73 Bendy Bus contracted by TfL struck the back of my head and my torso while I was at the edge of a crowded Oxford Street pedestrian crossing. Because TfL, Arriva and the Police never bothered to contact me after I woke up from a Glasgow Coma Scale 3 coma in January 2010, I was compelled to investigate why I nearly died on 18 December 2009 all on my own. “I have campaigned over these years for a safer public bus system that doesn't produce serious injuries like mine as it currently does 2 times per day. “Safe operation of buses require drivers rested and with a safe system of work and well-maintained vehicles, all items clearly spelled out in the London Bus Drivers’ ‘Bill of Rights’ which was presented to his representative by protesting TfL Bus Drivers on 14 September 2017. “London Bus Drivers' ‘Bill of Rights’: 1. The Right to a safe work schedule without any forced overtime or loss of pay 2. The Right to a decent and proper rest break in the working day 3. The Right to drive a safe and well-maintained vehicle 4. The Right to clean, serviced toilet and rest facilities on all bus routes 5. The Right to report safety concerns without fear of retribution from TfL or employers 6. The Right, when seriously ill and covered by a doctor's note, to not be harassed into coming into work until fit to do so 7. The Right to relevant and timely safety training 8. The Right to drive without being forced to answer radio messages and texts from Controllers whilst in motion 9. The Right to have all company rules in writing and clearly displayed 10. The Right to be treated with dignity and respect by our employers, TfL and the public. “Sadiq Khan has resisted accepting this ‘Bill of Rights’ and, as TfL Chair, he needs to show some leadership and see the ‘Bill of Rights’ adopted by TfL’s contracted Bus Companies and its implementation closely monitored by TfL.”

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