Shy bairns get nowt


If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen that I had issues with a Stagecoach bus driver on Tuesday. I reported him to Stagecoach and to the police. By Thursday evening Stagecoach had written to me saying they had conducted an investigation, the driver would be disciplined and the company would be “issuing a reminder to all drivers of the importance of observing designated areas for cyclists.”

I didn’t want to press charges on the driver, but I wanted it officially noted that he felt it was OK to use his bus as a shaking fist. A work-based warning shot across his bows may make him a more careful driver in the future.

He had used his bus to cut me up on John Dobson Street in Newcastle. When I tackled him about this and suggested he might have had deficient eyesight – his bus twice encroached in a cycle reservoir – he got shirty and shouty. Fearing further aggression, perhaps with an accelerator pedal, I took a photograph of the driver.

He had a bus full of passengers but he got out of his vehicle and had a go at me. Another cyclist was in the green cycle box beside me and volunteered to be a witness, should I wish to lodge a complaint.

I’ve never complained to a bus company so had no idea whether the matter would be ignored or investigated. It was investigated, and promptly. I read on the Twittervine that not all bus companies take such matters as seriously as Stagecoach but if you’ve been on the receiving end of some dodgy “professional” driving it’s definitely worth reporting it to the driver’s employer.

Here’s the email I got from the managing director of Stagecoach North East:

Further to your correspondence on Tuesday 6 December, I can confirm that we have now carried out an investigation into the issue you raised. This included viewing CCTV footage taken from the vehicle involved.

We expect extremely high standards of our driving team. If we have evidence of poor driving we will put in place re-training or, in serious cases, take disciplinary action.

Following our investigation into this matter, we can confirm that the driver on this occasion did not meet the high standards we expect of our staff.  I would like to apologise for this. As a result, I can assure you that the driver will now be dealt with through our disciplinary procedure.

In addition, we are also in the process of issuing a reminder to all drivers of the importance of observing designated areas for cyclists.

I would like to reassure you that the safety of our employees, passengers and other road users is our absolutely priority. We have a comprehensive training programme for our professional driving team that is amongst the best in the bus industry. This includes extensive training before any driver gets behind the wheel as well as on-going training. This includes specific guidance on ensuring the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and other road traffic.

Our 8,000 buses in the UK cover millions of miles every week and the vast majority of journeys run smoothly. However, with such a high volume of journeys there can be incidents involving our services. While some of these are caused by the actions of our drivers, it is fair to say that some incidents can also be due to the actions of other road users.

I hope we have demonstrated by our swift response and investigation that we are a responsible company, and that where cases such as this are brought to our attention, we take them extremely seriously.