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Mayor of London must stop outsourced TfL bus 'killing machine'

16 Jun 2021
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GMB Union calls for culture change within TfL where punctuality at the expense of health and safety is linked to private company profit

New GMB analysis shows that more than 2,500 people were killed or seriously injured in TfL bus collisions since 2014.

During the same period, almost 6,000 people were injured in collisions with TfL buses - an average of 2.5 people every day.

On the back of the study, GMB calls on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to look urgently at the private contractors delivering bus services for TfL and remove the link between punctuality and profits. 

Borough Fatal Taken to hospital Treated at the scene Total
Westminster 6 183 254 443
Lambeth   167 197 364
Southwark 2 146 162 310
Croydon 4 132 164 300
Lewisham 2 89 180 271
Barnet 4 81 145 230
Greenwich 3 104 115 222
Camden 3 101 115 219
Ealing 2 92 112 206
Wandsworth 3 96 106 205
Hackney 2 83 116 201
Newham 1 83 115 199
Brent 2 88 108 198
Haringey 2 72 124 198
Islington 2 75 118 195
Bromley 1 62 112 175
Hounslow 2 66 97 165
Havering 2 60 101 163
Redbridge 1 64 93 158
Waltham Forest 1 70 77 148
Enfield 1 55 89 145
Tower Hamlets 1 56 86 143
Hammersmith & Fulham 2 57 66 125
Kingston upon Thames 2 39 72 113
Hillingdon 1 42 67 110
Bexley   41 59 100
City of London   47 52 99
Merton 4 34 57 95
Richmond upon Thames 1 45 48 94
Kensington & Chelsea   40 51 91
Harrow 2 36 39 77
Barking & Dagenham   26 43 69
Sutton   22 35 57
Total 59 2454 3375 5888


The City of Westminster tops the London league for injuries caused by bus collisions since 2014 with 443 total injuries arising from collisions including 6 fatal injuries and 183 injuries requiring hospital attention.

Next in the league was Lambeth, which had a total of 364 injuries arising from collisions; Southwark had a total of 310 injuries arising from collisions including 2 fatalities.

GMB says the increased use of private bus contractors in London has led to drivers having fewer breaks, working longer hours and having less access to toilet facilities.

Tom Kearney, Founder of LondonBusWatch and a TfL Bus Crash survivor said:

"In December 2009, an Arriva Route 73 Bendy Bus contracted by TfL critically injured me at the edge of an Oxford Street pedestrian crossing.

"Since neither TfL, nor Arriva nor the Police ever bothered to contact me after I woke up from a near-death coma in January 2010, I was compelled to investigate why I nearly died on my own. Since 18 December 2018, at least 132 people have been killed and thousands more have been left with life-changing injuries from Bus Safety incidents.

"I have campaigned for over a decade for a safer public bus system in London and that will only be possible when Bus Driver working conditions have fundamentally improved and TfL and its for-profit Bus Contractors are held accountable for the operational safety performance of London’s contracted surface transport fleet.

"I support GMB’s long-standing efforts to ensure politicians, public servants and Bus Company CEOs will answer for TfL Surface Transport’s poor safety culture."

Justin Bowden, GMB Southern Regional Secretary, said:

"Let’s be clear, there is no blame at all attached to the drivers themselves for these accidents. This is all about a fatally flawed system in place which puts profits higher on the list of priorities than the safety of passengers, pedestrians and the drivers themselves. It's become a killing machine.

"Safe operation of buses requires drivers to be adequately rested, a safe system of work and well-maintained vehicles. It is not the drivers’ faults if all these things are not in place.

"GMB is campaigning to reduce the number of accidents, which is in everyone’s best interests, with the possible exception of shareholders.

"The time is long overdue for their wallets and opinions to stop taking precedent over safety, given their dividends are made up of tax payers’ money and the fares of ordinary working people just trying to get to work and from safely."

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