Writing at the OnLondon website, Caroline highlights the issue of bus driver fatigue and the risk it poses to public safety.
The reasons bus drivers are frequently tired are complex, but nearly always they are part and parcel of the working conditions they face. Alternating shifts can hamper regular sleep patterns. Many drivers have limited access to adequate rest facilities during their breaks. There can be high levels of stress at work – dealing with London traffic, radio control messages regularly being sent to them, and having to handle sometimes rude and aggressive passengers. Even before getting behind the wheel, many have travelled long distances to get to their depot, perhaps by car. The pay levels facing bus drivers can also mean that some feel unable to turn down last-minute overtime opportunities.
We should also recognise that tiredness is a wider transport issue. We know it has been an issue facing tram drivers. It also affects many taxi and private hire drivers – incredibly, there is no statutory limit on the number of hours for drivers in these industries. I am at present pushing the Mayor to ensure that research is now carried out into the levels of fatigue facing drivers in this industry.
If we want safer roads for everyone, we need to understand why many kinds of driver are so often dangerously tired when at work. The working practices that contribute to this must quickly become as outdated as those in factories in the age of Dickens.