500 accidents on Lothian Buses in space of one year
BUS passengers injured after being trapped in the vehicle doors were among almost 500 accidents reported on Lothian Buses over the past year.
In total, 42 passengers were injured after becoming trapped in the doors, while another 85 people were hurt after they fell while getting on or off buses.
The transport firm revealed it has set aside more than £131,000 to deal with compensation claims by customers, including those injured by sharp braking or falling while getting on and off the bus.
The incidents all took place from November 1, 2011 to October 31 this year.
The most common complaint filed against the council-owned company is for injuries suffered while travelling inside the vehicle, with an average of 414 cases reported.
Stevie Chambers, commercial projects officer for Lothian Buses, said the figure represented a tiny percentage of the total number of journeys taken by passengers.
He said: “With an operation which last year carried well over a hundred million passengers and which in round terms has 700 vehicles and 1500 drivers who operate a total of more than 20 million miles each year, most of which is in Edinburgh’s busy streets, sadly but inevitably there are bound to be a number of accidents.
“While we are never complacent, it is somewhat gratifying that the number of incidents are as low as they are – accounting for as little as approximately 0.0005 per cent of all those who travelled with us over the period.”
The bus company, which provides funding for liabilities internally, has set aside £131,206 for the cost of claims.
Mr Chambers added: “As long as our drivers drive to a very high standard, and we make every effort to ensure that they do, that can be a more cost-effective option for our business.
“Some claims are not paid in the year in which they are made and so the provision we make must take account of such possible future liabilities which ultimately may not materialise.”
The city council’s transport leader, Lesley Hinds, said: “While every one of these 500 accidents is something to be concerned about, I feel assured that Lothian Buses has an excellent training programme when it comes to safety.
“You only have to witness when an elderly person gets on board just how cautious the drivers are. Every individual accident is going to have a story behind it.”
Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said: “RoSPA would urge bus drivers to take care when moving away from a bus stop, especially when they have got vulnerable passengers on board who are not as sure-footed, such as the elderly and parents with young children.
“If drivers try to wait until people have sat down before pulling out, it can prevent accidents from taking place.”