Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Red Bus Menace

How many people have to be killed or injured before something is done about Double Decker buses in London.
Driving professionally in London for many years I have witnessed many changes, both good and bad.

The London Congestion Charge (although I admit that I raged against the concept) made a positive difference to traffic congestion in the central area and the pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square a few years ago didn't bring the end to life as we know it.

As a driver you have to be accepting of most of the negative points of driving in this great or any city. For instance Black Cabs will never let you out into traffic, cyclists will 'flip you off' for no reason and pedestrians can look the 'wrong way' before they cross the road. It's London! It happens.

That said, over the last 3-5 years the iconic Red London Double Decker bus has become a menace and danger to the streets of London, or rather its driver has.

All too often they ignore the red lights, I sit patiently waiting at the junction and even as my light gets to green a bus will continue over the junction from the opposite filter, usually at speed, and fly across me. If you monitor Trafalgar Square as it is reaching grid lock you'll see the cause is a bus having blocked an exit. The same with Marble Arch, Scotch Corner etc. Now blocking junctions is frustrating of course (and mocks any attempt at a 'Green-Eco' Mayoral policy) but the real concern is the danger. 

Buses jump red lights and pedestrian crossings all the time, this is not an angry motorist ranting, well not just an angry motorist ranting. I am confident that if you polled other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians most could regale you of a near death and close call experience. You get angry and frustrated as a car driver but a cyclist or pedestrian gets killed.

The thing that concerns me most about all this is the apparent allowing (or ignoring) of these traffic violations. Trust me, London has more CCTV camera's than anywhere else in the World and if I or other motorists were to speed, jump a red light, park, stop or even break wind we'll be caught and issued with a PCN (Parking Charge Notice) and rightly so if we break the law. So how can the bus drivers flout the law so regularly and go seemingly unpunished?. These blinkered lunatics are either working to pay the fines or the 'powers that be' are overlooking and/or even encouraging the practise.

A good idea might be to give buses their own lane, let's call it a 'bus lane' so they haven't the need to speed and hur.......oh, that's right.

Anyone visiting London for the first time has to get a photograph with a Telephone Box, a Black Cab and a Red Double Decker, these beasts are indeed iconic and something the people of London are proud of. Instead they are fast becoming a real danger to Londoners and their visitors and something we really need to be looking both ways for.

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