New ITV series on the challenges faced by London bus drivers
Transport for London (TfL) and Arriva London have allowed television cameras behind-the-scenes for a remarkable documentary series that shows the challenges faced by a diverse group of people who all want to realise their dream - becoming a London bus driver.
ITV's 'Double Decker Driving School' reveals what it takes to join the ranks of London's 24,500 bus drivers - who are responsible to the safety of up to 80 passengers whilst negotiating one of the most challenging urban environments in Europe.
The six-part series, shot at Arriva's South Norwood and Edmonton bus garages, begins tonight (Thursday 19 March) at 8:30pm on ITV and will be broadcast in the same slot over the subsequent five weeks. Each programme will focus on candidates from a recent intake of drivers at Arriva's bus driving schools as they undertake a rigorous six week training programme.
TfL is responsible for managing and developing the Capital's bus network which consists of around 700 bus routes, which are served by 7,600 buses at peak times and carry more than 6.5 million passengers a day - the highest number since the late 1950s.
Leon Daniels, TfL's Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: `London buses are internationally recognised icons, but they of course owe their fame to the men and women who expertly pilot them through our busy streets. These programmes show how tough it is to be a bus driver in London and how much effort goes in to ensuring the safety and comfort of our customers.
`The accessible services the bus network provides to every corner of the Capital, in many cases 24-hours a day, 364 days of the year, is a key element in keeping London the thriving place it is.'
Double Decker Driving School was made by Blast! Films, the same production company behind The Tube and Route Masters, which were watched by around two million viewers per episode.
Notes to Editors
- Since TfL was formed in 2000 it has invested strongly in London's bus network - resulting in a 69 per cent increase in passenger numbers. London Buses now carry more than 2.4 billion passengers a year, which equates to half of all bus journeys made in England.
- In recognition of the continued need to invest in bus services - with a increase in demand from the city's rapidly growing population - TfL's latest Business Plan has dedicated around £500m to improve the network over the period from 2015/16 to 2020/21. This will include funding for over 500 extra buses, which will create capacity for an extra 2.9 million customer journeys each week.
- An additional £200m will be invested in supporting the reliability of the bus network at a local level with bus priority schemes.
- A further £25m will be used to fund customer-focused bus driver training to improve customer service.
- Arriva is one of the largest providers of passenger transport in Europe, employing some 54,500 people and delivering more than 2.2 billion passenger journeys every year. Arriva is part of Deutsche Bahn, one of the world's leading passenger transport and logistics service providers, and operates in 14 European countries. Headquartered in Sunderland, Arriva is responsible for Deutsche Bahn's regional passenger transport services outside of Germany.