The charade hasn’t stopped

TfL just released collision figures for the bus network it regulates for the last quarter of 2014. (We will have to wait until June for pedestrian casualties on the road network; meanwhile, as of writing, already at least 14 pedestrians have been massacred in 2015).

Tom Kearney, whom all Londoners need to thank for prising these figures from TfL, has conveniently summarised the main points. Essentially on average London buses send to the hospital between one and two people a day, due to collisions. Ten people were killed in 2014. Here is one of the victims, mercilessly mowed down on the most dangerous (and most polluted) street in the country.

Tom has copiously written about the criminal behaviour of Transport for London’s management, the collusion with the corrupt Metropolitan Police and the scandalous silence of local and national media. But this country never learns from its scandals and cover ups.
Here, we point out what a nice little charade the TfL/Met Police racket has concocted to fool Londoners in thinking that they take safety seriously.
Let’s say that a bus driver, hassled by a controller to speed up (otherwise he loses his bonus), endangers you by overtaking you and then immediately cutting in front of you. If you don’t stop, the 12,000kg vehicle will end your life. You keep your calm, thank your deity for letting you savour life a bit longer, whip out your phone and take pictures of the bus and the driver.
Here is an example:
When you are next online, you report the incident on RoadSafe , a Met Police website, “provided to allow the public to pass information, in confidence, about criminal, nuisance and anti-social behaviour on the roads of London”.
Up to last year, you will have received this response: 
“Transport for London (TfL) has a specialist team who investigate complaints of this nature and so your e-mail has been passed to them.  If any further information is required, they will contact you direct.”
“A specialist team” which however never contacts you back, nor tells you the result of the promised “investigation”. If you write to them asking news, you would receive the following: 
“Our drivers are trained specifically in relation to standards of safety whilst operating vehicles around cyclists. We expect our drivers to be mindful of cyclists and drive with due care and diligence. London’s bus drivers receive comprehensive training and poor driving standards are unacceptable. I have made [the Bus Co.] aware of your complaint and appropriate action will be taken. As you have included the registration number of the bus, they will be able to identify and interview the driver.”

Note “our drivers”. When pressed a bit harder, TfL’s specialist team will respond so:

I can confirm [the Bus Co.] are looking into this matter and they will identify the driver from the registration number’ They will view the CCTV from the bus and interview the driver about his driving behaviour, and follow this up with appropriate action in line with their procedures. This can range from re-training, a verbal or written warning and to dismissal for more serious incidents. 
Unfortunately, Transport for London (TfL) is not informed of the full outcome of disciplinary interviews, as they are a confidential matter between the operator and their employee. We will therefore not be able to give you any details. I can assure you all operators take remedial 
action when drivers fail in their duties.”

Obviously you don’t fall for this bullshit and you ask how is TfL assured that remedial action is taken. This is what you get:

“We are not provided with specific information regarding investigations that take place. Our Performance Managers liaise with operating companies to ensure that standards are being kept and to discuss any complaints or reports of poor behaviour.”

Oh, maybe the Performance Manager can tell you how the discussion went? In a further message, TfL replies

“As the driver is not a member of our staff, I would advise that you contact the operating company directly. The interview between the operator and driver is a confidential matter and they will not release this information to us”
You keep playing the game and write to the Operating Company, but they don’t even reply. Note how the driver is no longer TfL’s.
In November 14, at a Traffic Violence Enforcement conference organised by Road Danger Reduction Forum I explained this charade to the audience. Simon Castle, a Policeman from the Traffic Unit, sprung up, saying it wasn’t true, effectively calling me a liar; unfortunately for him all this is documented and he had to apologise. So he asked Roadsafe to change the standard reply.
But only the words have changed. The charade is exactly the same. On 30.01 this year, I was subjected to a similar type of violence, and again TfL confirmed that they are not going to investigate. They did however offer to write to the Operating Company to keep the recording of the bus cameras for inspection by the Police. I then went to the Police Station where the officers were so surprised anyone would waste their time reporting a dangerous bus driver, that they spent five minutes debating which was the correct form to fill. That was four weeks ago and I have very little hope that anything will be done.
In this istance I have also reported the near miss on which sends an automatic message to the relevant Local Authority. More hilarity here; the Westminster Road Safety Officer wrote to me with only one concrete suggestion: take a cycling course!
This is why we see Transport for London as a criminal organisation: they know they kill and injure hundreds of people, but rather than solving the problem, they erect barriers and blankets, so that people cannot get to the truth, i.e. that safety is heavily compromised to achieve performance targets in order to enrich the people who run the organisation. And the Metropolitan Police is its accomplice.

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