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Driven crazy by barmy bus driver Brussels ruling

January 7th, 1999

The Sun, Thursday, 7 January 1999, p15
Grandma Lilian Brunton is being driven round the bend by daft new EU rules for bus drivers. They mean she has to get off her bus halfway through her journey – then go to the back of the queue to get back on … the potty new EU regulation … states that drivers on routes more than 30 miles should work shorter hours and have longer breaks.

“The splitting of the 484 bus route in West Yorkshire is daft. But there is no “potty new EU regulation” that has caused it, and there are certainly no EU rules saying how long a bus route may be.
The EU rules agreed by Ministers in 1985 generally requires that drivers of buses shall drive no more than 9 hours a day on average, and that drivers on bus routes of less than 30 miles in length may work an average 10 hour day.
The reason for this rule is clearly road and passenger safety. Fatigue is the biggest cause of road accidents and it is vitally important that bus drivers, who may be transporting up to 70 passengers, are alert throughout their working day. The rules, therefore, require adequate rest periods for drivers during the day and a reasonable maximum working day. Obviously, the longer a journey the more likely the driver is to get tired – hence a shorter working day for drivers on routes over 30 miles long. However, this rules does not stipulate in any way that bus routes cannot be more than 30 miles in length.
It is the bus operator, Arriva, that has decided that passengers should have to get off the bus halfway through the journey, since it is Arriva that wants drivers to work more than 9 hours a day on this route. The company has already tried a similar tactic on its 685 Newcastle-Carlisle bus service which it split into three to try and get more working hours out of its drivers.”
Letter by Neil Kinnock, European Transport Commissioner to The Sun, 7 January 1999

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