| 22.01,12. 01:07 AM |
Buses speeding out of control
January 22, 2012
BUS drivers who have been caught speeding and running red lights have been fined more than $1 million.
Sydney bus drivers have been dealt more than 3000 speeding fines and 1000 have been booked for failing to stop at red lights over the past five years, documents obtained by The Sunday Telegraph show.
Coach and tourist bus drivers were the biggest offenders with 1700 speeding fines, while State Transit and private bus drivers were issued more than 1300 speeding fines, costing their drivers almost $400,000.
And $245,000 was collected from State Transit and private drivers for red light offences.
Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW secretary Chris Preston said drivers had strict schedules, which could result in them breaking the law."Bus drivers are expected to do their best to keep to bus timetables, but this can be extremely difficult in Sydney given traffic congestion and other disruptions," he said.
Mr Preston said drivers were responsible for paying their own fines.
NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said for drivers of such large vehicles, breaking traffic laws could have dire consequences. "For bus drivers caught speeding or going through a red light, it can also place their careers at risk.
"They could lose their licence," he said.
A Transport for NSW spokeswoman said the figures showed passenger safety could be at risk.
"The safety of passengers, pedestrians and other road users is our No.1 priority," the spokeswoman said.
"Bus drivers are like every other driver on the road. If they speed, run a red light or break any other road rule they will receive demerit points, will have to pay a fine and could possibly lose their licence.
"Bus drivers risk instant dismissal ... from their job as well as loss of licence if they continue speeding or running red lights."
Private coach service Murrays said its buses were fitted with equipment to ensure driver and passenger safety.
"All Murrays coaches have a black box-style computer that records all the details of the driver's journey," owner Ron Murray said.
Murrays also has a control centre to monitor drivers and regularly tests them for drug and alcohol use.