DPAC is pleased that London’s 28,000 bus drivers who threatened strike action on 5 and 24 July have won their right to receive an Olympic bonus which other transport workers have been offered in recognition of the extra strain the Games will put on their working conditions. The deal follows the first capital-wide bus strike in decades and six days of negotiations. It has been signed by all 20 bus operators amid fears the network could be brought to a standstill, heaping embarrassment on the London as it staged the Games.
DPAC calls for a fully accessible public transport system that provides disabled passengers with the same opportunities to travel as anyone else. We recognise that an important part of a fully functioning system entails respect and fair terms and conditions for transport staff in order to enable them to do their jobs fairly. DPAC supports the bus drivers in any action they feel they need to take in order to get their voices heard.
Last month DPAC and Transport for All staged a successful direct action with activists blocking the path of an 87 bus outside Westminster for more than two hours. The action which was featured on a Channel Four news debate drew attention to the barriers that disabled people face in accessing London buses ahead of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games when campaigners fear that poor disability access will make London a laughing stock. http://www.dpac.uk.net/2012/06/right-to-ride-report/
In speaking out against the daily discrimination and frustration disabled people experience trying to access bus transport DPAC does not blame the bus drivers themselves. Drivers are held back from delivering a fair service to disabled passengers by cutbacks which have seen conductors removed from buses whilst drivers are not allowed to leave their cabs for safety reason, by strict regulation of timetables that do not give drivers adequate time to meet the needs of disabled people and by a lack of investment in fully user led disability equality training that could be delivered around drivers’ shift patterns.
DPAC encourages our members to show solidarity to bus drivers in any further actions.