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"Please hold on, the bus is about to move"

View profile for Bede Finnigan
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Following recent complaints to Transport for London, it is evident that the new procedures currently being trialled on London buses are not to everyone’s taste. But the question remains: where do individuals stand when injured as a result of a bus being driven and, more specifically, moving off negligently?

These complaints are as a result of Transport for London’s new system to warn passengers prior to the bus moving off. The system is, however, not without its teething problems as TFL has become inundated with complaints due to the warning voice being played AFTER the bus has already started moving!

The system, nevertheless, must be lauded for its attempt to reduce accidents and injuries occurring whilst travelling on buses; particularly as Transport for London’s figures for injuries by slips, trips and falls on London buses is currently at 3,000 people each year.

The law surrounding this matter is case-specific, depending on the individual facts of each incident. It is evident that the courts are reluctant to award compensation for such injuries. This has been illustrated in previous cases such as Phillips-Turner v Reading Transport Ltd [2000] whereby the courts expressed claims will only be successful for elderly or infirm claimants. This provides a level of protection to drivers.

Roythornes has been successful in pursuing claims of this nature. Cristina Parla of our Personal Injury department specifically recalls two recent cases.

The first case involved the claimant sustaining an injury as a result of a bus pulling away immediately after she had paid her fare. The jerking motion caused her to fall and fracture her right forearm.  The claimant was an elderly lady and was given no time whatsoever to find a seat.

Similarly, another claimant boarded a bus operated by a large national bus company.  She showed her bus pass to the driver and before she had any time to find a seat the driver pulled away.  The claimant had nothing to grab on to and fell.  As a result, she suffered a blow to the head which resulted in concussion, headaches, memory loss and confusion. Liability was initially denied, however, Roythornes successfully argued that the claimant was disabled and the driver should have given extra consideration to her mobility issues before pulling away.

Transport for London has acknowledged there are teething issues and reiterated that “safety is our number one priority”. It remains to be seen whether TFL will overcome these problems and persevere with their plans. If they do and, of course, provided the message is relayed on time, the announcement may become as familiar as “Mind The Gap” on the underground and prevent injury.

 

If you have sustained such an injury within the last three years you may be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with one of our Personal Injury specialists by calling 01775 842500.