Idling – has anyone thought about the driver?

I am extremely disappointed to see that Westminster has taken action to remove the three coach bays on Horseferry Road.

As a responsible coach driver, I took umbrage to the council’s plan to close these bays. For it to say this is a one-off is a huge slap in the face for those who drive coaches and large vehicles in London with absolutely nowhere to park, because Westminster closes almost any coach bay or park in London as and when it suits it.

When any event takes place, it’s the coach bays that are suspended first.

We in the industry know that coaches driving into London are now mostly Euro VI compliant, and emissions are lower than ever. We are in the middle of winter, with very little heat on coaches and the rare times we run the engine is usually to get a little warmth or make a hot drink. Otherwise, we are sitting in a cold vehicle shivering. But is the driver’s health and welfare considered? Not in the least.

With the removal of these bays, that means at least another three coaches will be driving around London with engines assuredly running and using considerably more diesel, adding to the congestion problem and perhaps even taking drivers out of their legal driving limits. Again, have these factors been considered?

Let’s also consider – a worker in an office runs their computer, lights and heating to ensure a working environment that is legally governed with the minimum requirement of warmth. The vending machines are perhaps constantly running, and hot drinks are available all day. Who, then, is creating the largest carbon footprint?

Nobody cares about the poor driver behind the wheel of the coach and the hardships these men and women face on a daily basis. Their job is made harder by the removal of coach parking facilities and people claiming that their engines are constantly running. I have asked for proof, and none has been forwarded. But did I really expect that, being in the coaching fraternity?