London bus pedal warning

Unite says TfL must act on bus pedal confusion to keep London's roads safe

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Unite, the union representing over 20,000 London bus workers, is calling on Transport for London (TfL), bus operators and the mayor of London to act swiftly to resolve the problem of pedal confusion on London buses.

Unite has been raising concerns about the design of pedals since the summer and the problem was again highlighted this week when pedal confusion was cited as a possible factor in the death of a commuter at Victoria bus station in August this year.

Unite lead officer for London buses John Murphy said, “Unite’s members work hard every day to keep London’s passengers and road users safe but it is vital that the buses they drive are also safe, which is why we are pressing TfL and the bus operators to work with us to eradicate any possibility of pedal confusion.

“We’ve been raising this issue for a while now but have not been listened to and that’s just not good enough,” he added. “TfL has a duty to respond to any and all safety concerns put before it.”

Unite says that there is a particular problem with newer buses, especially electric vehicles, where the accelerator and brake pedals are similar in shape and height.

Unite has also identified that driver fatigue is a factor but the union is concerned that drivers are not reporting incidences for fear of disciplinary action.

John Murphy added, “Without urgent action taken to modify the pedal design on buses, especially newer models, and proper steps taken to reduce driver fatigue, then the problems and dangers of pedal confusion will continue.

“Pedal confusion is certainly far more common than has previously been reported but if our members seek to raise this issue they will receive the full support of Unite.”

The problem is likely to extend beyond London and throughout the UK and will increase as more operators purchase electric vehicles, unless urgent modifications are made to their design.

By Barckley Sumner

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