Fearful bus driver calls for fines
Sat, 21 Jul 2012 9:28a.m.
Jaywalkers should be fined to stop more bloodshed on Wellington streets, a fearful bus driver says.
At least 13 people have been hit by buses since the city council's new Manners Street bus lane opened in November 2010 and drivers say they are in constant fear of hitting careless pedestrians, Fairfax Media reports.
The latest victim, NZ Bus director Tim Brown, remains in a serious condition in Wellington Hospital's intensive care unit after being run over by the front wheels of a bus in Willis Street on Thursday.
The Wellington Airport director and Infratil executive suffered head injuries and a punctured lung.
There is a message scrawled on the kerb at the site of the accident: "The bus lane width is sub minimum standards. It is an unlawful killer."
Wellington police are investigating whether Mr Brown's vision was obscured when he stepped in the path of the bus.
The council has erected a temporary barrier at the site and says it plans to shorten the waiting time for pedestrians at several controlled crossings in an effort to reduce the casualty count.
Councillors will be briefed next month on a long-awaited pedestrian safety study.
A bus driver who regularly drives the route said she was constantly fearful, with near-misses happening every day.
"I haven't hit anyone yet, but I'm just waiting for it to happen."
People often played chicken with buses, but others just weren't concentrating or got distracted by MP3 players or mobile phones.
"I've even seen people push out babies. There was a time when it was really getting to me, but now I've decided if it happens, it happens."
Fining jaywalkers was probably the only way to get people to change their habits, she said.
Wellington Tramways Union secretary Kevin O'Sullivan agreed near-misses were common. As for fining jaywalkers, he says "something has to happen".
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27/07/2012 7:46:39 a.m.
The Wellington CBD is dominated by pedestrians crowding the footpaths especially in the danger areas of Manners/Willis/Lambton Quay. Perhaps these areas should be made exclusively pedestrian.
22/07/2012 12:20:37 p.m.
I am a Bus driver also and i have been through Wellington many times, i always lookout for people who just might cross the road suddenly and if i see anyone who just might, i will slow down just in case, DD taught me to be prepared for anything and so i am.
Though pedestrians do cross the road without thinking sometimes, we need to think for them, being careful is not a bad thing.
Do it for yourself, your passengers and the pedestrians who just may be distracted and also for the ones who are just having a bad day.
21/07/2012 6:26:28 p.m.
I 'm a professional driver who drives through Wellington city every week day, I don't think it's the pedestrians that need to change their habits. Tell me , how many people have been run over by trucks? Compared to buses.
21/07/2012 4:54:58 p.m.
What did you expect when you put a bus lane thru the mall, whoever decided to do this should be shot.
Time to get rid of the buses out of there and turn it back into a pedestrian Mall
21/07/2012 12:15:25 p.m.
Given the amount of foot traffic on Lambton Quay and Willis and the current state of the footpaths (and the tendency for some people to walk 3-abrest and not share the footpath) - there simply isn't enough room for all the pedestrians. So people are going to be crossing over regularly. I don't blame the bus driver but when you put a lot of people and buses in a confined area accidents are going to happen.
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