Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

Bus drivers punished for refusing to drive unsafe buses

Oct 13, 2013Uncategorized

Sydney bus drivers are being disciplined for refusing to drive unsafe defective buses through Sydney traffic, despite admissions by State Transit Authority (STA) that drivers risk fines by doing so.

NSW RTBU Bus and Tram Division Secretary Chris Preston said bus drivers were being asked to drive buses with smashed blinkers, high beam fixed on, brake lights not working and back doors flapping open.

“Drivers are concerned that STA is taking a hard line approach when an accident or maintenance issue arises while the bus is in service,” Mr Preston said.

“All bus drivers see it as part of their job to consider the safety of passengers and other motorists and comply with road rules. When they deem a bus is unsafe to drive they rightly request that it be taken out of service and replaced.

“Instead they are being told by STA to continue driving.

“I am sure that Sydney motorists would be shocked to learn that STA is insisting buses be illegally driven when defective, and have even told drivers that they will pay any fines that driving illegally might attract.

“The union is aware of numerous incidents where drivers have been expected to get behind the wheel of a bus which is obviously not road worthy including driving a bus at night with high beam fixed on and a blinker which has been smashed and is inoperable.

“These defects might not seem like much to someone sitting back in an office barking directives, but to a bus driver negotiating Sydney peak hour traffic or snaking suburban back streets they hamper the safe operation of their vehicle.

“To drive a 12 tonne bus safely through busy Sydney traffic you need the bus to be in top working order and drivers are the best judge of what constitutes safe conditions. “

Mr Preston said the union was backing members who had been disciplined and called on the Transport Minister to intervene.

“The RTBU is calling on the Minister to step in and back the drivers on this issue.

“It is simply not acceptable for government employees to be disciplined for simply complying with the law and refusing to put the safety of themselves, passengers and other motorists at risk.

“Measures must be put in place to ensure drivers are not put in this position in future.”