Bus casualty reduction target

MQT on 2017-11-16
Session date: 
November 16, 2017
Question By: 
Caroline Russell
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


In your draft Transport Strategy you set a target of reducing the number of people killed in, or by, London buses to zero by 2030. Given your commitment to a Vision Zero approach to road danger reduction, why have you set a target so far in the future?


Answer for Bus casualty reduction target

Answer for Bus casualty reduction target

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I believe deaths and serious injuries as a result of collisions on London’s roads are neither acceptable nor inevitable.  Unlike my predecessor, who refused to commit to Vision Zero for road safety or set a bus specific target to eliminate all fatalities involving buses, I am committed to eradicating these tragic events from our streets.  It is for this reason that my draft Transport Strategy goes further than any such document has gone before in London.  I am the first London Mayor to include a target to reduce fatalities involving buses on London’s road to zero by 2030 and death and serious injury overall for other vehicles by 2041.  To further demonstrate my commitment to this Vision Zero approach, I am leading by example and I am committed to reducing casualties at a faster pace with London buses.  My target to reduce the number of people killed in or by London buses to zero by 2030 is, I am told, very bold but that is been set with reference to past trends in casualty reductions while taking into account my new Vision Zero approach.  I should make clear that although the vision is for 2030, I want to see a reduction in bus incidents every single year.  In my draft Transport Strategy, I set the ambitious target to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured in, or by, London buses by 70% by 2022.  The target must be stretching and ambitious to help drive progress but also realistic and achievable.  I will identify every opportunity to enhance my bus safety programme and will take on board feedback from the Assembly’s Driven to Distraction report.  The bus safety standard which will involve safety requirements to be written into all bus contracts from the end of 2018, is the heart of this work, and I am certain it will be effective in reducing bus collisions.  While I am confident that my target for 2030  is ambitious but achievable, there is considerable uncertainty in terms of the benefits of safety technology measures beyond 2022.  Although safety technology has proven effective in driving down the number of people killed and seriously injured in private hire cars over the past decade, it is currently unclear how effective these would be in buses carrying stand-up passengers or how quickly bus manufacturers can incorporate these new technologies; therefore, if we are achieving good progress, I will review whether we should bring forward the target date from before 2030 to stretch our progress still further.



Caroline Russell AM:  Thank you Mr Mayor, and it is really good to see you being so ambitious, you know, to get things down by 70% by 2022 and also to hear you saying you want things to get better every single year because, taking a Vision Zero approach, means being able to put your hand on your heart and say that you are doing absolutely everything possible now to prevent any death and injury on our roads, and I am going to now ask you a few specific things into a bit of detail about things that you could be doing now.  So, first of all, intelligent speed adaptation.  You told me back in June that intelligent speed adaptation would begin to be introduced on buses later this year, so how many buses have now been fitted with this potentially life saving technology?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  My understanding is that intelligent speed assistance will be fitted to new buses from December and is just one component of the wide range in bus safety standards.  I could read out the bus safety standard if you want me to.




Caroline Russell AM:  The point is, I know that the new buses are getting it from 2018 but back in June, I had an MQ where I was told that it would be being introduced on the existing -- so it is the retro-fitting the existing fleet; you have got about 8,000 buses in the fleet.




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  It is from December.




Caroline Russell AM:  Do you know how many …?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I am about to write to you but the note says here, from December I say it begins, but I am happy to give you a note on a monthly basis about progress made.




Caroline Russell AM:  That would be fantastic.  Thank you very much.  Basically, ISA technology it makes buses stick to the speed limit to 97% to 99% of the time, these lower speeds cut collisions and speeding it out -- speeding up the roll out of ISA will actually help you with Vision Zero.




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Accepted.




Caroline Russell AM:  Then we have bus driver working conditions.  You have already mentioned the Transport Committee’s report led by Assembly Member Pidgeon.  During that investigation bus drivers told us that sometimes they can work up to 16 hours a day which can include up to 10 hours of driving time.  We heard about drivers who were unable to take minimum legal breaks and the lack of toilet facilities on routes meaning that, when they get their breaks, they spend them running around trying to find a toilet in the first place.  Tired drivers are more likely to make mistakes, so the report in Driven to Distraction calls on you to commission and publish a piece of research into London bus drivers’ working conditions.  UNITE and the bus drivers themselves have also called for this in their Bill of Rights.  You are advising the bus safety programme now.  Will you get this research done and use the findings to inform the bus safety programme?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  There is an announcement imminent about the progress made.  We are working with bus drivers, UNITE and TfL which will be this side of Christmas, and that will answer your question about the research.  I do not want to pre-empt the announcement because there are discussions taking place now but it is good news.  You will be pleased with it, which is what I am trying to say.




Caroline Russell AM:  Okay.  I look forward to it, and I hope that --




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Rather than unhappy with it.  Yes.




Caroline Russell AM:  --that the people like these bus safety campaigners who have been really trying to change things--


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  It is a very good report and I have got to say this: some of the testimony the Assembly received is quite disturbing to read and very upsetting and so it is a very important report and there has an announcement imminent on that.




Caroline Russell AM:  That is really good to hear.  Very quickly, the incentives in the bus contract something else you could do.  At the moment, the bus contracts are focused on reliability and safety is not factored into that payment structure, so can you ask TfL to integrate safety targets in the quality incentive contracts, so that it agrees with their operators.




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  The bus safety standard, which will involve safety requirements, will be written into all bus contracts from the end of next year.




Caroline Russell AM:  From the end of next year?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  They are new contracts, because obviously you cannot retrospectively--




Caroline Russell AM:  Excellent.




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  —apply it is what I am saying.




Caroline Russell AM:  Thank you.  Then, finally, on transparency.  I gather TfL and the bus operators had a London bus safety summit this week.  Transport committee members were blocked from attending.  What was it they were discussing that needed to be kept behind closed doors?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I have got no idea.  I am happy to write to the Assembly Member.




Caroline Russell AM:  That would be very good.  Thank you very much indeed.