A London bus driver has been disciplined by operator Go-Ahead London for tailgating a cyclist before getting out his vehicle, swearing at the rider and trying to phone the police because he "got on his nerves".
The incident, footage of which we shared on road.cc yesterday, happened in Herne Hill in south London on Saturday morning and saw the driver travelling just "two to three metres behind" the cyclist, before trying to overtake twice, despite the rider already cycling at the 20mph speed limit.
In the following moments, at a red light, the driver began shouting at the cyclist, Rendel Harris, before leaving the bus to phone the police, telling Mr Harris: "You stand right here and shut up. I'm going to call the police you piece of s***"
Today, Go-Ahead London has apologised to the cyclist and said the bus driver had been identified. It was determined that he "did not carry out his duties to the standard expected" and has "been dealt with formally, in accordance with our company's disciplinary procedure".
Herne Hill 2/9/23 11.30AM
1/5 Bus driver of Go Ahead vehicle SN58CEY (out of service) tailgated me all the way down Herne Hill, driving 2-3m off my back wheel, and twice attempted dangerously to overtake, even though I was riding at the 20mph limit for the road. pic.twitter.com/iUDfYRHX8Y
— Rendel Harris (@Rendel_Harris) September 2, 2023
Go-Ahead London says it is "unable to disclose any information regarding interviews with our staff as this is a confidential issue between the employer and employee".
Writing on X, the social media platform formerly called Twitter, Mr Harris said the statement "speaks for itself" and "hopefully the fact that, having reviewed the CCTV from the bus, the company agreed that the driver was not driving in an acceptable manner might silence those who have accused me of making up the whole incident and aggravating an innocent bus driver."
"Obviously I would prefer to know what sanctions the company has applied but it's good to know that at least something has been done," he added.
In a letter to Mr Harris, Go-Ahead London said: "Complaints of this nature are taken seriously, and I would like to apologise for any distress this situation may have caused you.
"All drivers trained by Go-Ahead London undertake a comprehensive training programme with a very strong emphasis on both safety and customer care. They are expected to operate their vehicles in a polite, friendly and professional manner, consistent with maximum safety of and with due concern for passengers, cyclists and all other road users. I am sorry you have had reason to report the contrary on this occasion.
"Using the information provided [...] we have managed to identify and interview the member of staff responsible for your complaint. The management responsible for the operation of this service have viewed the CCTV footage from the vehicle in question and your footage; our driver did not carry out his duties to the standard expected by the company.
"Our colleague has therefore been dealt with formally, in accordance with our company's disciplinary procedure. Unfortunately, I am unable to disclose any information regarding interviews with our staff as this is a confidential issue between the employer and employee.
"Go-Ahead London employs just over 6,000 professional drivers and the overwhelming number serve our city with distinction. As a result, the number of comparable issues reported are very small, but those that are will always be treated with the utmost seriousness and we strive to learn from them."
The bus driver's outburst came after failing to overtake Mr Harris above the speed limit and then driving behind him for around 90 seconds.
Once stopped at a red light, the driver shouted: "I've got you, I've got you!" before he told the cyclist, "You stand right here and shut up. I'm going to call the police you piece of s***."
"I'm a bus driver and I've got a cyclist here," the driver could be heard on the phone. "I need police assistance right now." Presumably being asked what was the emergency situation, the bus driver said: "He's really getting on my nerves."
Back in February a London cyclist spoke out about "bullyish" behaviour from bus drivers in the city. Road safety campaigner Lauren O'Brien's footage of an incident which saw a driver overtake her, before immediately pulling into a stop, pushing her towards the kerb, prompted Transport for London to launch an investigation.
In October, in a story involving another Go-Ahead London employee, a bus driver lost an employment tribunal appeal after it was deemed he "used his bus as a weapon" against a cyclist who rode in primary position.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.