Workers of England Union Supports the Transport for London Initiative to tackle rough sleepers on the London bus network
Recent media coverage has highlighted the issue of rough sleepers using the night bus network in the capital and Transport for London recently co-ordinated a multi-agency operation to help give advice and support in Westminster and Redbridge.
The aim of the operation was to engage with any rough sleepers, particularly on route 25, and to encourage bus drivers to report all instances of rough sleeping on their buses. The locations of Holles Street in Westminster and Hainault Street in Redbridge were specifically chosen for the operation based on intelligence gathered by TfL which suggested the route 25 at both end-of-line locations were the busiest in terms of rough sleepers frequenting the bus network.
Staff from Thames Reach – a London-based charity helping homeless and vulnerable people – provided sleepers with support from local services, as well as possible shelter on a temporary basis with advice given for more long term solutions.
TfL revenue protection staff took part in the operation to build a picture of how rough sleepers are travelling on buses, what type of ticket they are using, where they have travelled from and if there was any fare evasion taking place.
In total staff boarded 150 buses in Redbridge and Westminster and 28 rough sleepers were identified. The majority of them engaged with Thames Reach workers. All of the rough sleepers who were assisted during the course of this operation held valid tickets for travel and were not fare dodgers.
The operation was a real success and through it we’ve learned a lot about the scale of rough sleeping on the bus network,” says Lee Vehit, TfL network operations manager. “This will help us support bus drivers and rough sleepers alike moving forward.”
Further operations to assist rough sleepers on the bus network are planned for the near future in different parts of London.
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The Workers of England Union supports Unites actions and wishes ‘all the best’ to the Bradford bus drivers in their dispute. No-one should be bullied and harassed at work and Trade Unions should stand together when protecting jobs. We urge ‘First’ to listen to the concerns of their drivers.
Workers of England Union
Bradford bus drivers to strike next week over ‘cuts and bullying’
14:54 Monday 20 April 2015
BRADFORD bus users will be hit by a 48-hour strike next week as drivers walk out in a row over “service cuts”.
The 380 bus drivers at the First Bradford depot, , members of Unite, plan to strike all day on Monday and Tuesday.
Unite had accused the company of running the bus depot down with the intention of closing it in the future. The union also claimed there was “bullying and harassment on a daily basis”.
The dispute centres on the transfer to the Halifax depot of part of the 576 bus service from Bradford to Halifax, with the claimed loss of eight jobs. The bus company disputes this.
Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner said: “This blinkered management has let services wither on the vine over the last four years – for example, the number of drivers employed has shrunk from 470 to 380 in that time.
“While the strike on 27/ 28 April will be inconvenient for thousands of bus users, the bigger picture that Unite is fighting for is the maintenance of good and reliable services with top quality buses, properly serviced. We also want our members treated with dignity and respect.
“There is a big shortage of drivers with no recruitment of new drivers and this is coupled with the movement of jobs without consultation from Bradford to other towns.”
The drivers voted by 89 per cent for strike action and by 93 per cent for industrial action short of a strike.
Emma Taylor, business manager for First in Bradford, said: “I’m very disappointed that Unite intend to strike next week and bring such massive and unnecessary disruption to bus users across the Bradford district.
“I believe this action is completely unjustified when I have given my reassurance to the trade union that there are no jobs at risk and the depot is not closing. In fact our plans in Bradford are for investment and development particularly in line with the expanding retail offer in the next few months.
“The dispute is centred around the reallocation of some staffing duties on the 576 Halifax – Bradford route. This work was moved in January from Bradford to Halifax to balance staff duties and protect jobs in both areas following tender losses at Halifax.
“There are a number of other allegations we strongly dispute and we’ll be seeking further information on these accusations from the trade union at the earliest opportunity.”
Bradford First bus drivers to strike from 27 April
The drivers are to begin their strike action from midnight on 27 April
Bus drivers working for the First Bus company in Bradford have voted to strike for 48 hours.
The dispute by members of the Unite union will affect services from midnight on Monday 27 April.
Emma Taylor, from the First company, said: “I’m very disappointed that Unite intend to strike next week and bring such massive and unnecessary disruption to bus users.
Unite said members were fighting to maintain a “good and reliable” service.
‘Action completely unjustified’
The union said it was willing to continue negotiations with management to avoid industrial action.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the bus company said: “I believe this action is completely unjustified when I have given my reassurance to the trade union that there are no jobs at risk and the depot is not closing.
“In fact our plans in Bradford are for investment and development particularly in line with the expanding retail offer in the next few months.
“The dispute is centred around the reallocation of some staffing duties on the 576 Halifax – Bradford route.
“This work was moved in January from Bradford to Halifax to balance staff duties and protect jobs in both areas following tender losses at Halifax.”
Harriet Eisner, Unite regional officer, said members were also concerned about a fall in the number of drivers.
“There is a big shortage of drivers with no recruitment of new drivers and this is coupled with the movement of jobs without consultation from Bradford to other towns,” she said.
‘Outraged’ South Yorkshire bus drivers in strike threat
07:00 Friday 20 March 2015 Alex Evans
Outraged bus drivers in South Yorkshire could be set to strike after a breakdown in pay negotiations with First Bus.
Drivers are locked in a pay dispute with First Bus and union members are being balloted for potential strike action.
The firm is said to have offered drivers in Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster a pay freeze followed by a one per cent increase in 2016 – which has been rejected.
The feeling is running very, very high. The drivers feel they have worked diligently to make the company perform well, and they are being thanked with an offer that is one per cent over two years, which will in no way match inflation.
“There are many people in South Yorkshire who feel they need a pay rise. The First Bus drivers are no different.
“There is outrage and the feeling is that members are not going to accept zero per cent this year.”
He said drivers did not want disruption for customers, adding: “The drivers want to see First Bus a well used and well run company with a well liked bus service.
“But they do feel they need to share their reward for turning the business around from the previous state it was in during the recession.”
A First spokesman said: “First and our driver employee trade union representatives, Unite, remain in pay talks with the current pay-deal ending on 31 March this year.
“Whilst we must take into account rising costs and very low inflation, we are confident we can reach an agreement and avoid any unnecessary industrial action.
“We’ll keep talking to Unite to put in place a realistic solution so that we can continue attracting customers onto First buses with a sustainable business position.”
Stagecoach invests more than £80m in new buses and coaches
- Passengers to benefit from nearly 470 new vehicles for UK and mainland Europe, many equipped with wi-fi
- Investment in UK regions hits £630million in last eight years, plus over £100million in London since 2010, and over £20million for megabus.com services in mainland Europe since 2013.
- Further major boost for British bus manufacturing and UK supply chain
- Britain’s lowest bus fares and continued passenger growth providing profits to reinvest
- Cross-industry smart, multi-operator ticketing programme for key city regions underway
- 50 ADL Enviro 400 Scania double-deckers
- 30 ADL MMC E400 Scania double-deckers
- 57 ADL MMC E400 double-deckers
- 10 Wrightbus Eclipse Volvo single-deckers
- 28 ADL Enviro 300 Scania single-deckers
- 89 ADL Enviro 300 single-deckers
- 33 ADL MMC E200 11.9metre midibuses
- 27 ADL Enviro 200 midibuses
- 23 ADL MMC E200 10.8metre midibuses
- 42 Optare Solo minibuses
- 23 Optare Solo Slimline minibuses
- 12 Volvo Plaxton Elite 12.5metre coaches
- 44 Volvo Plaxton Ellite i 15metre coaches (8 left-hand-drive)
- 7 ADL MMC E400 double-deckers
- 8 ADL MMC E200 10.8metre midibuses
|Synectics Ltd (UK)
|Chapman Drivers Seating Ltd (UK)
|Fainsa _ Spain (Plaxton Coaches)
|Hanover Displays (UK)
|PLS (Passenger Lift Services) UK
|Shades Technics ltd (UK)
- Stagecoach has three times been independently assessed as offering the lowest fares of any major bus operator in the UK. The research was carried out by independent transport consultants TAS in 2009, 2011 and 2013. The 2013 study found weekly bus travel with Stagecoach was on average 12% lower than the next cheapest operator, and 50% less than bus fares charged in London by Transport for London.
- Stagecoach Group is an international public transport group, with extensive operations in the UK, continental Europe, the United States and Canada. The Group employs around 38,000 people, and operates bus, coach, train, and tram services.
- Stagecoach is one of the UK’s biggest bus and coach operators with around 8,300 buses and coaches. Around 2.8 million passenger journeys are made on Stagecoach’s buses every day on a network stretching from south-west England to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Low-cost coach service, megabus.com, operates a network of inter-city services across the UK and continental Europe.
- Stagecoach is a major UK rail operator, running the South West Trains, Island Line and East Midlands Trains networks. It has also partnered with Virgin to run the East Coast and West Coast inter-city rail franchises.
- Stagecoach operates the Supertram light rail network in Sheffield.
- In North America, Stagecoach operates around 2,400 buses and coaches in the United States and Canada. megabus.com links around 130 key locations in North America. Stagecoach is also involved in operating commuter, transit, contracted, charter and sightseeing services.
Bus drivers in Bristol forced to go behind bushes as public toilets close.
By The Bristol Post | Posted: June 04, 2014
By Katie Pavid
EVER had to cross your legs on a long bus journey that seems as if it’s never going to end? Then spare a thought for Bristol’s bus drivers.
With council cuts closing many of the area’s public toilets, bus drivers are being forced to hold on for hours, or find a convenient bush in which to spend a penny.
A First Bus Driver who wished to remain anonymous, told the Bristol Post that he regularly had a toilet dilemma at the end of a long journey.
He said: “Many of the toilets that were available for the public and bus drivers to use have been closed.
“The public are perhaps able to find alternative options but this isn’t the case for bus drivers for pragmatic and legal reasons.
“We, like the general public, need to relieve ourselves and are often forced to commit what some people would term a public decency offence by using the nearest bush.
“Spare a thought also for my women colleagues where the situation they find themselves in is much worse, for obvious reasons.
“I lay the blame on government cutbacks to local authorities meaning local have to be cut.
“I have been a bus driver for more than three years, and the number of public toilets has gone down noticeably in that time.
“It affects both me and my colleagues and it is a problem. The toilets used to be at the end of our service lines, which was convenient when you’ve just been in a bus for hours, but some key ones have been closed recently.”
Bus services from Bristol Bus Station on Marlborough Street service outlying areas including Clevedon, Portishead, Dursley, Yate and Chipping Sodbury.
Travelling times can range between two and four hours.
Often the bus stops at the end of the lines are not within a public building, leaving drivers caught short.
Most public toilets in South Gloucestershire are managed by the council.
In April 2013, North Somerset Council cut its entire budget for public conveniences, leaving the issue in the hands of parish and town councils to decide whether to take on the associated costs and responsibility.
A spokesperson for North Somerset Council said: “The council removed the majority of its £400,000 public toilet budget last year as part of the £100m savings it is having to make by 2018.
“However, thanks to partnership arrangements between the authority, local town and parish councils and other parties, the majority of toilets in the district have remained open.
“Parish councils now operate the public toilets in Blagdon, Bleadon, Congresbury, Kewstoke, Winscombe and Wrington. There are ten public toilets in Weston – six now operated by Weston Town Council and four by Healthmatic; three in Clevedon – two run by Clevedon Town Council and one by Clevedon Pier Trust; and two in Portishead – one operated by Portishead Town Council and the other by Healthmatic.
“Five have closed – at Yatton, Clevedon and three in Weston.”
Many of the remaining conveniences now operate on a pay-to-use basis.
Last May, Bath and North East Somerset Council embarked on a two-year closure plan of half of its 29 public lavatories across the authority.
A spokesperson for South Gloucestershire council said: “The only public toilet closure in South Gloucestershire was in Chipping Sodbury in February 2013.”
A spokeswoman for First said breaks are built in for their bus drivers.
She said: “Drivers have access to toilets at various points around the city.
“We have facilities in the bus station, and in our depots, and in designing our driver duties we comply with agreements made with the unions, as well as the law in relation to driving hours and required breaks.
“Most drivers know where toilets are located along any given route. In many cases there are toilets at start and terminus points.
“We try to build our timetables with enough recovery time in them to allow for drivers to have breaks if they need to at the end of a journey.”
She also said that as well as conventional public loos, drivers can also access loos in shopping centres, railway stations, other points of interest on the route if they need to.