News / Europe

London's Double Decker Buses Pose Danger to Holiday Shoppers

London's Christmas Shoppers Warned Over Bus Dangeri
|| 0:00:00
X
Henry Ridgwell
December 09, 2012 10:07 PM
As Christmas approaches, shoppers are in the streets in large numbers. In Europe, London's Oxford Street is one of the most famous destinations, attracting visitors from around the world. But safety advocates say the number of buses combined with the huge crowds makes this one of the most dangerous streets in the British capital - and they want the famous double-deckers banned. Henry Ridgwell reports.

London's Christmas Shoppers Warned Over Bus Danger

Henry Ridgwell
— As Christmas approaches, shoppers are hitting the streets in big numbers.  In Europe, London's Oxford Street is one of the most famous destinations, attracting visitors from around the world.

The Christmas lights are up on Oxford Street, the shoppers are out in force and retailers are eyeing big takings.  Buses too are a constant presence - almost 300 an hour.  The mix can be deadly, making it one of the most dangerous streets in London, say organizers who are fighting to get the famous red double-deckers banned.

Three years ago, businessman Tom Kearney was walking back to his office by way of Oxford Street when he was hit by a bus.

"I was standing on the curb right there, waiting to cross the street, when a bus going 16- or 20 miles-an-hour hit the back of my head, it popped both my lungs and threw me about 20 feet into the air, sending me straight into a deep coma," Kearney said. He blames the bus driver, but a police investigation did not result in any charges.

Double decker bus approaches London's Victoria Station.
Double decker bus approaches London's Victoria Station.

Government figures show accident rates involving buses on Oxford Street are 35 times the average of other London streets.  More than 200 people have been killed or seriously injured since the year 2000.

Tom Kearney has made a full recovery and is now a vocal campaigner for improved safety on this famous street. "If you look at what Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg has done in New York City with Broadway and Times Square," Kearney explained.  "If you look at what other cities have done across Europe [in] Vienna, Istanbul.  They have pedestrianized major thoroughfares to allow people to walk and shop in peace and without danger."

The Greater London Authority will have the final say on banning buses or pedestrianizing Oxford Street. Stephen Knight is an elected London Assembly member, who echoes Tom Kearney's demands. "What Oxford Street desperately needs is a pedestrianized environment so that people can enjoy shopping in one of Europe's premier shopping districts," Knight said. "Not just for road safety reasons, although that's obviously very critical, but there are huge air quality issues."

Transport for London is the agency that oversees all public transport across the capital.  Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport, is against the campaign.
"It's not viable to stop the buses at either end," he said. "It really is difficult to divert them into the surrounding streets, so we want them there in the center of Oxford Street, which is where the passengers want them."

Tourists visiting Oxford Street have mixed views on the issue. One man from Italy says he is surprised to see so many people together with so many buses.  But on the other hand, he said it is not stressful or chaotic, and the traffic is flowing freely.

The New West End Company, which represents retailers on Oxford Street, said its members want the road pedestrianized.  And Kearney said he will not stop fighting to get one of London's most iconic symbols banned from one of its most famous streets.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid