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Bus Services: Standards

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many bus drivers were examined under the driver quality monitoring scheme in each year since 2005; and how many were found to be (a) unacceptable with serious faults and (b) unacceptable with dangerous faults in each such year. (256233)

[holding answer 11 February 2009]: The Driving Standards Agency provides Driver Quality Monitoring (DQM) assessments to bus companies on a commercial basis. The Agency has no powers to revoke a bus driver’s licence based on the outcome of a DQM assessment.

The following table shows the number of DQM assessments conducted by the DSA.

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Total DQM assessments

9,059

9,089

8,177

Unacceptable serious faults

3,311

2,783

2,086

Unacceptable dangerous faults

136

113

77

A serious fault is defined as a significant deviation from the defined outcome with safety, control and/or legal requirements breached, such as moving off from a bus stop causing a car driver from the rear to brake.

A dangerous fault is defined as safety, control and/or legal requirement breached that would have caused actual danger, such as moving off from a bus stop into the path of a car from the rear causing the other driver to swerve to avoid a collision.

The data from the assessment are collated and reported back to the client on the next day, for potential remedial action. For those assessments recording dangerous faults the bus company is notified on the day of the assessment. In all cases the client is responsible for any further action. Some operators use these reports for disciplinary and reward purposes.

Bus companies use DQM assessments as part of their internal quality supervision arrangements. The Agency’s records indicate that the proportion of assessments giving rise to serious and dangerous markings decreases year on year during the life of a DQM contract.