Bus driver fatigue study shows a fifth of respondents fight to stay awake while working

A Transport for London (TfL) study and survey by Loughborough University looking into fatigue amongst London bus drivers found that 21% of respondents had to fight sleepiness two to three times a week.

It also found drivers are doing extra hours because of low levels of pay. 

The London Assembly Transport Committee is currently investigating bus safety in the capital and are considering the report to form part of its final recommendations to the Mayor and TfL.

Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, Florence Eshalomi, said: “We welcome this report by Loughborough University. The findings in this study are very concerning. “The Mayor and TfL must urgently review the state of affairs for bus drivers in London. “Figures like 36% of survey respondents having a ‘close call’ because of tiredness in the last 12 months is far too high. It is dangerous for the driver, passengers and other road users. “The Transport Committee will be keeping a close eye on this issue during our ongoing investigation into bus safety.”

Prolonged driving conditions, variable shift patterns and timing of breaks, as well as diet and exercise patterns can all be a contributory factor to causing fatigue according to Loughborough university. In January 2017, during Mayor's Question Time, David Kurten quizzed Sadiq Khan over the number of bus fatalities across London, saying: "Given that it has been widely reported that London Bus drivers are moonlighting as Uber drivers and there have been 13 bus fatalities this year, do you think that this practice is wholly unacceptable?" The Mayor responded by saying: "The bus operators, which employ London's drivers, have employment contracts that state drivers must not engage in any other paid or unpaid work without their written consent. No bus company has agreed to a driver working in a second driving job such as for a taxi or private hire firm. When isolated cases of drivers moonlighting have come to a bus operator's attention, action has been taken by the operator. "Transport for London (TfL) has put a new assurance process in place which will enable bus operators to check if their employees are licensed on TfL's Taxi and Private Hire database - and could be holding two jobs." Last week it was reported in TaxiPoint that new funding was made available by Transport for London (TfL) to improve road safety by tackling bus driver fatigue. Image Source: Pixabay

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