Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Bus garage blames drivers for hazardous parking on Streatham Hill


The management of the Brixton Bus Garage on Streatham Hill has replied to complaints about hazardous parking of buses on the A23 - by blaming drivers for not following the rules.

Up to 25 buses regularly park on the Red Route, forcing cyclists and sometimes pedestrians into the busy traffic - and blocking visibility for cars turning into Streatham Hill from Telford Avenue and Wavertree Road.

The junction is a hot-spot of collisions, including a number resulting in death and serious injury over recent years.

Despite complaints, the situation has worsened in the last few months, affecting anyone travelling into and out of Streatham from Brixton.

After police raised our concerns again this week, the bus garage management replied saying that since Jan 21st 2017 two new bus routes - 133 and 333 - have been based at the garage, "and new drivers did not necessarily know the rules."

The manager writes: "A staff notice is up expressing drivers are subject to disciplinary action to anyone that leaves their finishing buses unattended on the A23. Plus an additional notice that was posted a week or so later.

"I have also asked for the night shunters/staff to report any bus that are causing a problem, thus to identify the drivers flouting the rules. Those drivers are seen by myself or my deputy, any repeat offender is brought forward for disciplinary action."

Members of the Green Team who visited the bus garage last year to raise concerns had been told buses needed to come into Streatham Hill to re-fuel. In this week's email, the manager appears to  acknowledge this has caused problems of queues at busy times.

He writes: "We have also looked in to running some finishing buses in to the tram shed to store them there until the traffic is quieter, then fuelling them then.

"Garage management are aware of this and with 2 extra bus routes it makes more traffic but it is being taken seriously and hopefully things will get better, my team will be visiting this area to assist but please keep in touch if things are not improving."

Since we first published this post a bus driver at the garage has got in touch with a wholly different version of events, saying the problem has worsened since shunting and refuelling was sub-contracted by Arriva to The Capital Group.

The driver tells us: "They've tried to cut costs by contracting shunters in instead of employing their own. Since the change over is been a nightmare, we drive our buses in to the run in to be fuelled and the shunters are meant to take over, once done they're supposed to take them to the tram shed to park them up but they don't

"They also don't bring the buses up the run in quickly enough to allow more buses to drive in hence why some drivers may leave their buses on streatham hill. 

"Drivers leaving the buses there before they changed the shunters this was not such a big issue. There have been nights I've seen buses parked from Christchurch traffic lights all the way down and past the garage. I can't believe the drivers are being blamed for this." 
Streatham Green Team along with others from the Safer A23 Campaign is on the case and we will keep you posted.

Please alert us to any further incidents on Facebook here or on Twitter here.


  1. As an ex bus driver from Brixton, This is a load of BS from the management, The drivers are finishing work after a 10 - 12 hour shift, and have nowhere to park the bus, as the bus is finishing, there is no one to take it over. are management going to pay one or two hours overtime to every driver to stay with the bus, and if they did, (which they won't) where are they to wait..?
    This operator sold off it's battersea and beddington lane garages for a quick profit, when they lost a few routes, But then won some new routes and have no where to put them.
    It really is pathetic to blame the drivers, when they are told to bring the bus back to the garage, But don't have any space for them.

  2. I totally agree with the comments from the experts bus driver is worked at stockwell it's exactly the same you end your shift all you want is to go home and you end up in a queue waiting for a lazy fueller to get the bus from you its ridiculous
    All these big companies want is profit and don't look after there staff

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Really good to hear from the drivers. Please keep us posted.

  5. The problem is not the washing so much but refueling. Two buses can get refuelled at once then of the 4 shutters, 2 have to drive them to tram shed or park in garage. (Usually only 2 shunters but can go up to 3 sunters). The other 2 shunters only have cat b so not on road. Then there's the meal break at 11pm ish.
    The scheduling of dead buses is timed to limit the volume over the course of each 30 minute period during the evening and it is achievable is done right.

    Problem is when the contractor doesn't have the staff it's f**ked.

  6. With the closing down of the VOSA portal for O Licence enquiries the replacement GOV.UK offering is a lamentably poor offering, which fails to deliver a coherent chronological listing of N&P entries, and seems to be missing out many items I know exist from the using the old VOSA system what I have extracted is that the Arriva London South licence had its last major variation listed on 22 November 2002 (N&P 2003) where the vehicle allocations for the 6 garages listed were all entered as 570 buses. A further variation was granted on 28 May 2010 (N&P 2199) for the tram shed (listed as an outstation for Brixton Garage) at 239 Brixton Hill and with an allocation of 600 buses. As I understand this the allocation of vehicles to an Operating Base relates to the maximum number that can operate from the site - yet the total number of buses currently required for Arriva South London contracts is 459 and none of the 4 Garages has more than 130 buses required for service PVR. No way could 570 buses fit on to one of the current sites, and as with LGV O Licences the Traffic Commissioner can require undertakings on the use of adjoining streets both for parking and access, usually as a result of a statutory consultee (Police, Local Council) raising concerns.

    I cannot find an application to remove Battersea and Beddington Operating Centres from the Arriva London South licence, when these transferred to Abellio which is a small hole in the tracking the paperwork, and the O Licence switches from a Standard International (green disc) to a Standard National (blue disc) and the GOV.UK fails to provide the N&P notice details on this, although I suspect it may be linked to the disciplinary hearing (Public Inquiry) that does pop up in the listing, but without the result details (which the VOSA chronological listing of all N&P notices would have done)

    Checking the map of 'all detail' (next buses omits bus stands) the stops for outside 39 Streatham High Road (Brixton Garage) I notice 2 which appear to be bus stands, and an additional bus stand in Natal Road actually labelled for the Bus Garage in the listing. The Bus Stands appear to be AR SZ and on Natal Road -W. These will be the official holding points for buses not in service to stop and will be set up to take a defined number of buses. At around 1 metre longer than the normal double decker the NBFL can upset the calculations for the kerbside length required as reports from Camden indicate, and this may be a factor in the obstruction of pedestrian traffic as the bus queue for fuel/servicing extends from the Garage entrance across the line of the footway where it runs across the garage entry.

    A bit of a pigs breakfast in organisational terms and perhaps a the parked buses a reflection on other aspects of the way bus movements are organised to create the 'wall of red' effect at peak times when the number of buses sent out on many routes practically doubles as these buses get gridlocked (by other buses?) Its being done wrong somewhere, just need to work out why and how