Concern

A concern was raised regarding defective air conditioning on board multiple models of buses operating from a London depot. It is a particular issue on different models of buses.

Without functioning air conditioning, the working environment within the cab can become very unpleasant and uncomfortable. Passengers have also complained about the temperature inside the vehicle.
Drivers can spend ten hours a day inside cabs without air conditioning. This was of particular concern back in the summer months.

The reporter said that the excessive heat can impact on the health of the drivers and cause distraction, potentially resulting in a road traffic accident.
Actions requested:
• Record temperatures in the Drivers’ cabs during periods of warm weather
• State how often air conditioning units are maintained and repaired when reported through internal channels
• Ensure all buses are fitted with fully functioning air conditioning units

Response

It was confirmed that at that particular London depot there is a temporary supply of older vehicles (pre-2010) and the air conditioning does not perform as efficiently as expected.

Newer vehicles will be provided in the long term with more effective air conditioning units.

The units are regularly inspected as part of the internal 28 day rota cycle and by an external contractor every three months.

An investigation by the operator indicated that no air conditioning defects had been reported at this depot in the previous three months and so the operator has encouraged the reporting of defects when observed, by refreshing communications on the hazard reporting procedure.

A vehicle wide review of bus defect cards will be implemented to prioritise any air conditioning defects and tackled promptly with the air conditioning contractor.

In order to gather more information about the extent of the issue, heat data loggers will be installed on two buses to gather the actual temperature during service.

A review with the external contractor is also underway to identify ways to enhance performance of the units.

The outcome of this data collection will be shared with the depot.

Put it into practice!

If you’re uncomfortable because of the temperature at work, report internally if you can. If nothing is actioned, you can report to CIRAS. Your report can help improve defect reporting too, benefitting others.