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'Inexperienced drivers put passengers at risk'

PUBLISHED: 18:15 14 October 2009 | UPDATED: 09:06 12 August 2010

A DRIVER claims bus companies are getting rid of experienced workers in a bid to hire cheaper inexperienced staff. The 64-year-old

A DRIVER claims bus companies are getting rid of experienced workers in a bid to hire cheaper inexperienced staff.

The 64-year-old Bromley driver, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the Times he was worried the direction London bus companies were taking was 'dangerous'.

Now, when drivers reach retirement age they are not given the choice to carry on if they have a clean record in what one driver calls a "money-saving exercise".

He said: "Bus companies want to save money by getting rid of experienced drivers and taking on new drivers who get lower rates of pay and that might have something to do with the increasing number of accidents involving buses in Bromley.

"In a recession there are lots of people looking for work.

"They can save a lot of money by taking on new staff.

"They are not giving older drivers an opportunity."

He approached the Times after reading about two crashes in the borough involving buses in just one week last month.

He added: "They are sending them out without very much experience. And they are actively getting rid of experienced drivers. They are being pushed out when we reach retirement age where as before if you had a clean record you could stay on.

"It is dangerous."

A TfL spokesperson said: "London leads the UK in terms of bus driver training, with every driver required to pass a specially developed BTEC qualification within their first year of service.

"Every driver must also complete a further 35 hours of training every five years as part of their Certificate of Professional Competence. Driving standards on London's buses are closely monitored through an extensive programme of mystery shopper-style observations carried out by specialists from the Driving Standards Agency, whose surveys show that driver quality is improving year on year.

"We are not complacent and will continue to work closely with bus operators and drivers to improve driver standards."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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