TfL sets aside £500,000 to tackle London’s bus driver fatigue

New funding has been made available by Transport for London (TfL) to improve road safety by tackling bus driver fatigue. World-first research, published today, provides more information for the industry to act to achieve TfL's ambition of no deaths or serious injuries on London's roads.

The study was commissioned by TfL in response to Unite the Union's work to highlight the issue of driver fatigue, and conducted by Loughborough University and the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI). Key measures announced as a result include commitments that:

Rigorous fatigue risk management systems will be required for any company to operate London buses under new contracts next year

TfL will ensure that all managers in bus garages have undertaken fatigue training

TfL will make £500,000 available to help operators undertake further work to establish the most effective interventions to reduce fatigue

All rosters will be reviewed by operators against best practice to reduce the risk of fatigue

TfL and operators will ensure driver representatives are given the opportunity to be trained in fatigue

There will be a greater focus on the health and wellbeing of drivers

TfL will foster a more open and honest culture across the industry.

The Mayor has delivered a series of improvements for bus drivers over the past three years. In December 2016, Sadiq announced a package of improvements including a new starter minimum wage of £23,000 for drivers working across all of London's bus companies. Last year he introduced the 'Licence for London', which allows drivers to fairly move between bus companies at a pay grade equivalent to their level of service and experience. He has also allocated £6m of funding to deliver permanent toilets for the capital's bus drivers along routes which currently only have facilities with limited access or opening hours. Claire Mann, Director of Bus Operations at TfL, said: “We launched our Bus Safety Programme to eliminate death or serious injury involving buses from our roads. Collision data has so far helped us deliver a safety-focused training course for all drivers and newly designed safer buses. “This report builds on the issues that Unite the Union raised, and allows the whole industry to go one step further. With the evidence from this study, we will require bus operators to have fatigue risk management systems and more formal fatigue training for managers. We're also working with the bus operators and Unite to create a programme to gather ideas for how we can further respond to the report. It is through working together across the industry that we can address this vital issue and make our buses lead the way when it comes to reducing risk on the roads.” The required fatigue risk management systems will assess fatigue and provide processes for managing and reporting it if it occurs, with the ultimate goal of fatigue reduction. These systems will help to develop an open and honest culture and make it easier for future improvements to be made. TfL, the operators and Unite will work together to identify the best possible system. The new £500,000 fund will be open for applications from bus operators shortly. This fund is intended not just for trialling new technology but to come up with innovative solutions to change the safety culture within bus garages and increase the focus on driver health and wellbeing. 

Image credit: Pixabay

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