Monday, 23 January 2017

10 Low Emission Bus Zones and minimum wage for London Bus drivers

I’ve combined various ‘London Bus related’ news items in to this article.

First up we have the news that the London Mayor has announced 10 Low Emission Bus Zones for London.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today announced plans for 10 more Low Emission Bus Zones deploying the greenest buses on the capital’s most polluted routes to cut harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.

The buses are part of the Mayor’s hard-hitting measures to tackle London’s filthy air – responsible for the premature deaths of more than 9,000 Londoners every year – with major plans set to be implemented in 2017 to tackle the dirtiest vehicles.

The new routes include Edmonton, Stratford and Haringey, bringing the total number of Low Emission Zones planned to 12, including the previously announced zones in Putney High Street and Brixton.

The Mayor has targeted air quality hotspots where people are exposed to some of the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution and where older buses contribute significantly to road transport emissions.

Thousands of school children will benefit from the introduction of the Low Emission Bus Zones, with 172 schools located within 100 metres of the new zones.  In addition, the benefits of operating the greenest buses will be felt more widely across the capital as the buses operate the full length of their routes.

The new greener buses, which will be a combination of hybrid and clean buses that meet Euro VI standards, are part of an improvement programme to 3,000 buses outside central London.

The zones are expected to reduce NOx emissions from buses along the routes by around 84 per cent and will fulfil the Mayor’s manifesto commitment to introduce Low Emission Bus Zones by 2020. 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Tackling London’s filthy air is one of my main priorities and I am delighted to be delivering on that commitment by introducing these new Low Emission Bus Zones. Removing the oldest, dirtiest buses from our streets and delivering Low Emission Bus Zones will make a big contribution to tackling transport pollution.

"Safeguarding the health of Londoners is vital and I’m doing everything in my power both to transform London’s bus fleet and to target areas with the worst pollution.

“I want other cities around the world to work with me on demanding cleaner bus technology and I urge our government to take their responsibility seriously and introduce a national diesel scrappage scheme to deliver the step change we need on the dirtiest diesel vehicles.”

Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “These Zones will not only help improve health and air quality in the local areas, but will also help make those areas more pleasant places to be and encourage greater numbers of people to walk or cycle. By using bus priority measures we will also make bus journeys quicker and more reliable for our customers.”

The locations of the 12 Low Emission Bus Zones are:

·         Putney High Street – from Putney Station to Putney Bridge Road
·         Brixton to Streatham – from Brixton Hill via Stockwell Road and Streatham High Road to Streatham Place
·         A12 Eastern Avenue – from Blake Hall Road via High Road Leyton and Homerton High Street to Marsh Hill
·         Lewisham to Catford – from Bromley Road via Rushey Green to Lewisham High Street
·         Stratford – from Abbey Lane via Mile End Road to Woodgrange Road
·         Haringey – from High Road to Green Lanes
·         Camberwell to New Cross – from Blackheath Road via Camberwell Green and Peckham High Street to Wood’s Green
·         Wandsworth to St John’s Hill – from Lavender Hill to Wandsworth Road
·         Edgware Road (Kilburn to Maida Vale) – from Cricklewood Broadway via Kilburn High Road to Shoot-Up Hill
·         Edmonton to Seven Sisters – from Amhurst Park via Green Lanes and Seven Sisters Road to The Broadway
·         Uxbridge Road to Shepherds Bush – from Ealing Broadway via Hanger Lane to Uxbridge Road, The Broadway
·         Chiswick High Road to Kensington – via Hammersmith Broadway and Kensington High Street to Studland Street.

The Putney High Street zone will be delivered in March 2017 and the route between Brixton and Streatham is set for October 2017.The Putney route will involve the exclusive use of only hybrid electric buses or those with top-of-the-range engines and exhaust systems that meet or exceed the highest (Euro VI) emissions standards. The other new 10 new routes will be delivered by 2020.

The Low Emission Bus Zones will utilise a number of ‘Bus Priority Schemes’ that ensure buses have priority over other traffic and are able to keep moving, cutting idling emissions and speed up journey times for passengers.  The TfL Business Plan, published at the end of last year, includes a £50m fund to be invested in bus priority schemes, helping attract more people back on to the bus network, and tackling pollution and road congestion.

Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: “Air quality is a huge issue for Londoners, which has a real impact on people’s health. I’m sure we’re all sick of putting up with pollution from traffic so I’m delighted that these low emission bus corridors are being extended across the capital, including Uxbridge Road, one of west London's busiest and most polluted routes. I know residents in Ealing, particularly cyclists and pedestrians, will be as pleased as I am to see some real action on this important issue.”

Councillor Tim Coleridge, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “We have been asking the Mayor and TfL to clean up the bus fleet in the Royal Borough, and this announcement is excellent news for Kensington. I look forward to seeing a real reduction in emission levels soon.”

Councillor Heather Acton, Westminster City Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Parking, said: “We welcome TfL’s announcement for a green bus corridor along Edgware Road. This contributes to the many steps needed to combat poor air quality in London and complements Westminster’s own ambitious plans to reduce emissions in the borough. Edgware Road borders the Low Emission Neighbourhood in Marylebone, where we are trialling innovative steps to help towards a greener city and this is a valuable addition.”

Tompion Platt, Head of Policy at Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, said: “It’s encouraging to see the Mayor taking action to improve air quality on some of London’s busiest high streets, where thousands of people walking are exposed to dangerous fumes every day. These measures, combined with those encouraging more people to swap their car for walking and cycling to their high streets, will help improve the health of everyone living, working and shopping in London.”

Areeba Hamid, clean air campaigner, Greenpeace, said: “These are welcome initiatives that show the Mayor is serious about his intentions to clean up our air, and protect Londoners from the harmful effects of air pollution. We’re hoping national government will take a leaf out of London’s book and provide plans and resources so other cities can also tackle air pollution to protect everyone’s health."

Low Emission Bus Zones are one of a number of measures the Mayor has asked TfL to take to reduce emissions from the capital’s bus fleet, including the phasing out of diesel only buses and a commitment to purchase only hybrid or zero emission double deck buses from 2018.

This means London Bus operators have to purchase the latest hybrid buses for their route contracts.

Looking at the press releases page, an article about ‘wages’ for London Bus drivers caught my eye!

This press release was published on 21st December 2016.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is today taking the first step towards fulfilling his election manifesto promise to provide a new fairer deal for London’s 25,000 bus drivers.

For many years, the pay of bus drivers has been set in isolation by the private bus companies which operate routes on TfL’s behalf.

This has led to large variations in pay between drivers employed by different companies, despite their similar level of skill, experience, and the demands of the job.

Transport for London (TfL) has been working with the bus companies and trade union representatives, and today the Mayor is announcing the introduction of a fairer system for bus drivers’ pay, including a new starter minimum wage of £23,000 for drivers working across all of London’s bus companies.

£23,000 represents the average starting salary of a bus driver today. However, there are variations locally and some drivers are paid less than this. The new professional driver wage will prevent a race to the bottom where competition for bus routes leads to pay for new starters reducing over time. Where employers currently pay less, the Mayor is encouraging them to work with trade union representatives to address any pay differences before 1st April 2017.

In addition to new guarantees around drivers’ wages, the Mayor is remedying the unfair situation where drivers who have moved to another bus operator have found that their past experience and record has not been reflected in the pay offered.

The new proposals include:

A new 'minimum professional London bus driver wage' will be introduced to apply to all new TfL contracts awarded to bus companies from April next year.

Bus companies will be required to pay drivers at least £23,000 per annum reflecting the challenging nature of the bus driver role, which now includes a greater focus on customer service. TfL will apply this from all new contracts awarded from 1 April 2017 next year, and rising with inflation thereafter.

A ‘License for London’ will be introduced no later than April, allowing drivers to move between companies, taking with them their qualifications and driving record, without having to go on a lower new starter rate. This will form an enhanced reference for their new employers and enable employers to bring drivers into relevant local pay structures reflecting their experience.

The Mayor also expects TFL, Unite representatives, and the operators to continue working towards introducing a London-wide pay structure for minimum levels of pay based on three and plus five years’ experience. Because of the wide range of pay levels and arrangements across London this will take longer to implement.

TfL will also work with Unite representatives and the bus companies to better support the progression of London’s bus drivers through to management and other industry positions, including addressing historic under-representation of minority groups. TfL will work with Unite representatives and the operators to develop an equality and diversity programme to build a working environment that fully represents the diversity of London bus workers at every level in every company.

There will also be continued work to address a range of other issues such as inadequate provision of toilet facilities and regular late finishes to shifts.

This shows that TFL have been tightly regulating London Bus operators; the PTE’s (Public Transport Executive) around England still have no powers to regulate bus services but they can subsidise bus routes in their area.

Lastly, here’s an update from LOTS:

1) At Go-Ahead London, all buses of London Central, Blue Triangle, Docklands Buses and Metrobus are now operating on the London General Operators Licence.  Re-assignment of the London Buses contracts remains outstanding. From last Monday, the all-BYD electric bus LJ16EZS has been used on route 360.  Also in the past week, there have been quite a few more LTs into service on route 21.  As to electric buses, all of SEe 3-51 have now entered service, with just SEe 1 and 2 to come. In turn, MEC appearances on 507 and 521 are now much fewer.

2) A mini bus war broke out between Harlow and Epping last week.  There had been suggestions that Trustybus may have had to reduce their operations from Tuesday 17th. On this assumption, EOS began a route 500 between the two towns from that day and were charging cheaper fares. However, Trustybus continued to operate a full service after all and the head-to-head competition lasted just two days (17th and 18th) with Trustybus accepting any EOS route 500 tickets that may have been bought.

As always. I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Google Plus which is @CLondoner92

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