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Ending the scandal of falls on buses

Added: 26 May 2011 | Updated: 14 July 2011

Transport for All has joined forces with Age UK London and Greater London Forum for Older People to make using buses safer

Research from Age UK shows that every day, 800 older people fall on a bus. Many of these passengers fall because of unsafe bus driving. Activists from across London have been surveying their local buses, documenting how frequently drivers drive off without waiting for passengers to be seated. Sometimes, drivers sometimes accelerate away from the stop without waiting for passengers to find a seat.

Guidance from Transport for London (TfL) is clear: – drivers should wait until everyone is seated before moving off. And bus companies are increasingly using Telematics technology to encourage smoother driving – which is more fuel efficient, as well as being more safe and comfortable for passengers.

Most bus drivers do drive with consideration. However, some drivers are still driving away before passengers are safely sitting down, and putting people at risk.

Transport for All will use the results of the bus survey to lobby TfL to improve its bus driver training schemes and encourage safer driving. Just one fall on a bus, or fear of falling, can put someone off using buses and leave them isolated at home. It’s estimated that around 25 people every day fracture their hip as a result of falling on buses. The cost to the NHS of a hip fracture is about £10,000.

Day of Action

“On the buses” day has been organised for 6th September. Disabled and older Londoners will be gathering at 10:30am at four meeting points around London:

We will then board London buses to Westminster (Parliament Square), where we will go to the Abbey Centre for lunch and ‘question time’ Senior figures from Transport for London, various bus companies and the London Assembly have been invited to attend. You will have your chance to put your questions to the panel!
The event ends at 3pm and includes free lunch and tea.

If you would like to take part, please register by 16th August. Contact Lianna Etkind, Campaigns and Outreach Co-ordinator at Transport for All via email or phone 020 7737 2339. Places are limited.

Research from Age Concern and Help the Aged shows that 1.96 million older people are concerned about falling on a bus. The survey results will be published in June, ahead of a meeting of the London Assembly Transport Committee which will hear back from TfL about its plans to improve bus driver training.