Bus driver fatigue: A qualitative study of drivers in London

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - europe, place - urban, ridership - drivers, planning - safety/accidents, planning - surveys


Fatigue, Sleepiness, Bus drivers, Focus groups, Interviews, Road safety


The research represents one of the first major qualitative studies to subjectively investigate fatigue amongst city bus drivers. Funded by TfL (grant no. 94050), the study considers the perspectives of both the bus drivers themselves and their managers. It explores opinion specifically in relation to how fatigue influences or is influenced by bus driving, and how this is managed. Data was collected from focus groups with bus drivers (n = 65 drivers) and one-to-one interviews with bus driver managers (n = 11). Fatigue was seen to be a problem, with all drivers having experienced for themselves the feeling of sleepiness whilst driving the bus, or knowing about it in others. The managers agreed that fatigue amongst drivers is evident, seeing it particularly as a contributor to serious incidents. Fatigue and sleepiness are not discussed between drivers as a general rule and they do not feel comfortable reporting instances of fatigue for fear of being disciplined. Managers would encourage drivers to report these issues and therefore hoped to create a more open culture. Factors identified as contributors to fatigue included: working overtime, having insufficient sleep, spending time with family, other non-work commitments, shift schedules, and work pressure.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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