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Bus red light policy confusing, driver claims

By Richard Guttridge | Transport | Published:

A policy telling bus drivers they should go through traffic lights that are broken or 'stuck on red' is leading to confusion, it has been claimed.

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National Express drivers in Dudley have been told they should not sit waiting at lights that are not working - but one driver says the order could put safety at risk.

He also said he was concerned about how long drivers should wait before deciding to go and that he feared he could get into trouble with police for going through a red light.

It comes after a National Express driver was sacked for running a red light.

A notice has been put up at the depot in Pensnett telling drivers they should 'proceed with extreme caution'.

It says: "If during your duties as a bus driver you are faced with a set of traffic lights which have failed/stuck on red, or there is a sign informing you the lights are out of order, you should treat the situation accordingly and proceed with extreme caution using good all-round observation and be prepared to stop if others assume priority.

"A driver will not be prosecuted or be seen in the company's disciplinary procedure for proceeding through a failed traffic light or one stuck on red.

"The police have advised that you should use your common sense, report the defective lights via the radio and proceed with caution if appropriate."

But the driver, who did not want to give his name and routes include Dudley and Stourbridge, said he felt uneasy about going through a light that was red, even if it was broken, in case there was a vehicle coming the other way - and if there was a crash what that would mean for him as a driver.

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He said: "They are saying it is ok to go through the red light to keep the buses moving.

"If it is a car there is a chance to get out of the way. Driving a 10-ton bus, there is no chance.

"They are saying if there is nobody there, use your common sense and go through. What happens if you hit another car?

"If you do one thing it's wrong, if you do another it's wrong."

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Abdul Jabbar, 59, of Dudley, was sacked by National Express West Midlands in October 2015 after CCTV footage captured him running the light in King Street.

He later won an unfair dismissal claim after he felt the decision was overly harsh for one mistake in an otherwise unblemished career.

National Express spokeswoman Ali Bell said: "National Express West Midlands drivers are highly trained professionals.

"Any National Express driver who suspects a traffic light is broken can radio our control room who will support and advise. We have systems in place with police and councils to check and report faulty traffic lights.

"Any member of staff who has any safety concerns at all should immediately report them to any manager or any member of the safety team."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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