Shift Patterns of Bus Drivers (How safe are you on that Bus)

5 months ago (5:04 PM)
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Talk London

Hi Iain2701,

Thanks for starting up this important discussion. We’ve been asking Transport for London more about the situation – who have told us that driver hours are strictly governed by the European Community (EC) regulation (561/2006) as well as rules under the UK’s Transport Act 1968 (as amended by the Drivers Hours (Passenger Vehicles) Order (SI 1971 No818)).

They say that these highly prescriptive regulations set out the time allowed for layovers and rest periods - and that if a driver feels that their shift pattern is not compliant with these, they should raise their concerns with their employing company.

TfL also say that shift patterns are necessary for frequent and reliable transport at most times of the day, but that this is a highly-regulated working environment with many checks and balances to maintain high levels of safety.

Are there any other ideas that you’d say could benefit bus drivers who work shifts?

Talk London Community Manager

John H

If you really need any further evidence that drivers are being pushed beyond a safe working limit in regard to their bodies fundamental need for regular and natural sleep patterns, tune in to LBC radio for a few weeks and listen to the number of pre 07.00 accidents happening on our roads.


As a retired bus driver, I have long felt that not only the shift patterns, but also turnround times need addressing. Although these are compliant with EC regulations they are not necessarily compliant with common sense. One reason for accidents could be drivers using inadequate turnround times to try and make up time lost due to congestion. There is a tendency to try and improve services at the expense of drivers free time, rather than extending the length of a shift or putting an extra bus into the schedule. Both operators and LRT need to realise that the more drivers are pushed to achieve unattainable targets the more stressed and therefore dangerous they willl become. When legislating for drivers hours, I wonder how much opinion was canvassed from drivers themselves.

John H

Excellent point maddriver!


Good points made here. Part of the problem is that those who run public services these days have no regard for safety of drivers or the public. Their sole concern is profit. LRT demand that buses are run for what they deem to be public benefit(not unreasonably)but they are not prepared to put another bus into the system as that would mean extra expense for them and consequently more Council Tax costs. Likewise, the bus operators are reluctant to employ extra divers as they would have to bear the costs themselves. So the merry-go-round continues, with drivers and ulimately the public bearing the consequences.


I agree with this. some bus companies think 8.5 hours is enough time to finish a late turn then move to an early turn..... thats not 8.5 at home thats from when you sign off and then sign back on again...... there should be two days between a late to early shift. and similar rules to lorry drivers should apply with breaks away from the vehicle. and proper lunch breaks.. not a 30 minute dash. There should also be sufficient drivers spare to cover sickness and drivers arriving late back and possibly being forced to miss a lunch break. Go ahead is terrible for this.