The Herald yesterday reported on some shocking figures on bus speeding and red light running.
Nearly $700,000 worth of fines have been handed out to speeding bus drivers in the past five years, including one who was clocked going 61km/h over the limit.
The Herald can reveal more than 10,500 tickets were issued to Auckland bus drivers and a further 553 fines, worth almost $83,000, were issued to those who were caught running red lights.
That is a shockingly high number of tickets for a group of professional drivers, working out at over 5 tickets per day. And all of this appears to just be those drivers caught at fixed speed cameras. You have to wonder how much more it happens in other areas. Particularly concerning is the article mentions two drivers caught in the same location travelling at more than 100km/h in a 50km/h zone.
Equally frustrating and bad are the red light runners. Though the numbers aren’t all that high in comparison but that could just be because there aren’t all that many cameras around. I’ve probably seen as many complaints about it on places like Twitter, such as the one below from Su Yin as the number of tickets.
@AklTransport Another one of your busses running the red light again TODAY. Pedestrian light has gone green for a couple of seconds already. People could’ve been seriously injured or die here. Beyond the pale. https://t.co/cxEukVGESc pic.twitter.com/LijMKzgejg
— Su Yin Khoo (@ksuyin) February 24, 2021
Personally I think we should have them on every light controlled intersection as red light running is rife, both for buses and other road users.
While it’s not the only one, a key reason have this issue is from bus drivers trying to stick to schedule. Metrics such as punctuality are an important measure for Auckland Transport and poor performance by the various bus companies could impact their ability to get bonuses and/or future contracts. So it’s not surprising that pressure is pushed down on to bus drivers.
One of the main tools to addressing this significant safety issue is to roll out additional bus priority. Buses that aren’t getting stuck in traffic are more reliable, meaning it’s easier for them to meet their timetable and therefore there should be less red-light running. As a bonus, that extra priority would also help make services more attractive.
I’m also a bit disappointed by AT’s response.
Auckland Transport spokeswoman Natalie Polley said they were always working with operators to ensure bus services remained one of the safest ways to travel.
She said AT monitored events and altered light phasing when issues were identified.
Safety, performance and operator health and safety were taken into account when companies were awarded contracts which would next take place in 2023, she said.
She said driver distraction detection systems had been trialled and would be installed in all buses in the coming years. AT was also working with police to improve the sharing of information about traffic incidents and infringements.
Auckland Transport is also supporting the Vision Zero programme to end road deaths, largely by reducing the speed of vehicles on the road.
Saying you support Vision Zero is not the same as delivering it.
Even putting aside adding more bus priority, it feels like AT could be doing a lot more rather than just waiting a few years for the next round of contracts. For example, they collect location data off all buses for use in real time displays and Perhaps they could also use that come up with an analysis highlighting all of the buses that exceed the speed limit.
I’m sure there’s much more they could be doing to address this significant safety issue, what are your suggestions?