Mayor provides £6m to further improve conditions for bus drivers

13 February 2018

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced plans for a further improvement of working conditions for London’s bus drivers by ensuring that all have access to a toilet on their routes for all hours of their working day.


The Mayor plans to allocate £6m of funding to deliver permanent toilets for the capital’s bus drivers along 40 routes which currently only have limited access or opening hours.


A lack of toilet access can be a significant health issue for drivers who can spend hours behind the wheel. Since his election Sadiq has been working hard alongside unions and bus operators to resolve the lack of facilities left behind by the previous Mayor.


Sadiq has already ensured that temporary toilets – such as an arrangement with a local café or shop for drivers to use their facilities - were installed on all routes that didn’t have one. This new funding will allow for the installation of permanent toilets at the end of each of these 40 routes – removing the worry and potential distraction for drivers of not knowing where they will be able to stop.


The move is the latest in a series of improvements for bus drivers delivered by the Mayor. Earlier this year Sadiq introduced the Licence for London, a deal to help drivers fairly move between bus companies, and in December 2016 he secured a new £23,000 minimum wage.


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It can’t be right that a bus driver can be stuck behind the wheel and not know where they can access a toilet. These men and women work hard keeping London moving at all hours so it’s vital that they are given the dignity of having access to a rest stop when they need it. I’ve worked hard to ensure that our 25,000 bus drivers are given a fair pay deal, and am now pleased that we can deliver another real improvement for the day-to-day working conditions.”


Unite lead officer for London buses John Murphy said: "This announcement is excellent news for London's bus drivers who will now have the basic dignity of knowing that they have access to a toilet  while at work. Being denied access to a toilet is linked to a large number of serious illnesses and physical ailments. This announcement by Sadiq Khan is a result of Unite's continued lobbying to ensure that London's bus drivers welfare and working conditions are fit for purpose in the 21st century. Driving a bus on London's very busy streets is highly demanding, the additional stress concern of being denied access to a toilet makes the job even more stressful. Today's announcement will mean in future drivers will have one fewer workplace worries."


John Trayner, Managing Director of Go-Ahead London, said: “Today’s announcement by the Mayor is welcome as it means drivers’ do not have to worry about where they take a comfort break, thus ensuring they concentrate on their roadcraft and passenger engagement.”


Claire Mann, TfL’s Director of Bus Operations, said: “We welcome this funding from the Mayor, which will help us build on the significant progress we have made in delivering facilities to all bus drivers. We will now work closely with the boroughs and utility companies to work out a comprehensive plan of delivery.”

Notes to editors

There are 675 bus routes in total across London. There are currently 40 routes where drivers only have access to toilet facilities for part of the operating day.


The toilets will be permanent, fully plumbed in, toilets that drivers have a code to access. TfL will work closely with borough councils and utility companies to install the toilets


The proposal is contained in the Mayor’s final draft budget for 2018/19. This goes before the London Assembly on February 22


In January, Sadiq announced the Licence for London. This put an end to the previous system where bus drivers moving from one bus company to another would be paid the lowest driving wage as if they were starting their careers, even though they might have driven for many years with another company. From now on drivers can start at a new company at a pay grade equivalent to their level of service and experience.


In December 2016, Sadiq fulfilled a manifesto pledge by announcing the introduction of a fairer system for bus drivers’ pay, including a new starter minimum wage of £23,000 for drivers working across all of London’s bus companies.