Fatigue Issues for Metropolitan Bus Drivers: Ramifications of Quantitative & Qualitative Research Findings for Safety Management
Metropolitan bus drivers operating in urban areas are exposed daily to a stressful and distracting work environment. To date, there has been a dearth of research exploring whether these factors cause fatigue in this population. The present study aimed to provide insight into metropolitan bus driver fatigue. The study was conducted in two phases. Firstly, focus groups were held at five bus depots an Australian capital city. The findings from these focus groups were incorporated into the second phase, a questionnaire study completed by 249 drivers in the same city. On reviewing the findings of the two phases, several fatigue issues were identified, including unrealistic scheduling and the according inability of drivers to take breaks, and the effects of managerial support. There was a lesser support in the questionnaire for the themes of ticketing policing, passenger interaction, shift irregularity and road user interactions as fatigue factors. The themes of cabin ergonomics and extended shift cycles failed to emerge in the questionnaire phase. Consideration is given as to why such factors are believed by drivers to be significant in increasing their levels of fatigue, and the ramifications of these findings in the context of future transit services management are also discussed.