Public bus drivers in Istanbul denounce long work hours after successive accidents
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Eighteen people were injured when a bus crashed into a café next to the ferry docks in Kabataş on Aug. 1. DHA PhotoPublic bus drivers in Istanbul have denounced their long work hours following a series of accidents last week that saw four people die and 48 injured, while also accusing the municipality for not allowing them to voice their concerns.
Murat Özdemir, head of the bus drivers’ association, said most of the drivers were working in very harsh conditions without adequate rest. Tahsin Domak, another representative of the same association, said the driver who crashed his bus into the Kabataş docks on Aug. 1, which injured 18 people, claimed he had worked 60 of the last 72 hours when the accident took place.
“He worked long hours without taking a rest. If he would have had the opportunity to rest, I don’t think the accident would’ve happened,” Özdemir said, adding the driver was receiving psychological help and wanted to quit his job.
Özdemir also claimed drivers had warned officials that accidents were bound to happen if their working conditions were not improved. “We have friends who do not leave their steering wheels for days. If only they could have found a solution before [such accidents took place],” Özdemir added.
Meanwhile, Domak slammed the Metropolitan Municipality for putting the drivers under pressure to not voice their concerns with Domak, saying they “received an e-mail [from the Municipality], urging them not to make any public statements to the media a day after the accident in Kabataş occurred.”
He added that the drivers’ social security was not given. “Their social security is not fully deposited; they can’t properly use their annual leave. All this creates a lot of stress,” he added.
In other accidents late last month, four people were killed after a bus caught fire on July 27 on the TEM highway, while 11 people were injured after a bus crashed into a wall on July 29 near the district of Çekmeköy.