Bus drivers in Dublin no longer banned from listening to the radio

By James Cridland for
Posted 8 March 2016, 12.12am est

Cosimo Chiffi

Bus drivers in Dublin are today celebrating after a ban was dropped by their employer: they can now listen to the radio while driving.

Radio was so important to the bus drivers that they had been threatening industrial action: but a neat stunt from Dublin station Radio NOVA was too much for Dublin Bus. They lifted the rules - which threatened immediate sacking of a driver if they even once tuned in.

Radio NOVA spotted an opportunity in the industrial dispute by campaigning on behalf of the drivers, and giving bus drivers the opportunity to present their own programme.

Cursory Googling has revealed that a Facebook page entitled "I hate bus drivers who play the radio when your (sic) trying to listen to music" has only 54 likes; that bus drivers in Ottowa are banned from listening to the radio, but Quebec is a bit more relaxed about it; and that there is a radio station called 100.3 The Bus in Des Moines who apparently and enticingly "play everything" (as long as 'everything' is Dad rock).

Press release

A petition signed by over 3000 Radio NOVA listeners and a “take over” of the station this morning by drivers has seen Dublin Bus today drop transistor radios from a banned list and all disciplinary actions as a result of an ongoing dispute binned.

Over the past week Dublin-based Radio NOVA encouraged listeners to sign their petition to allow Dublin Bus drivers to listen to their radio while they drive, which resulted in over 3,000 signatures.

The zero-tolerance measures that were put in place meant that drivers would be severely disciplined for using electronic devices, including transistor radios, while driving the buses.

The National Bus and Rail Worker’s Union threatened industrial action over the ban citing health and safety in the Port Tunnel where all drivers must have a radio turned on so that emergency services can interrupt the transmission in case of emergency.

This morning on Radio NOVA Dee & Marty from the station's Morning Glory breakfast show invited three bus drivers to take over their show between 9-10am.

Sean, Matt and “Chico” took to the airwaves to play some of their favourite tunes (including Queen’s Radio Gaga) and said “This policy is being forced upon us and we will be sacked on the first offence if caught listening to our transistor radios”

Dublin Bus said it had a longstanding policy prohibiting the use of mobile phones and electronic devices while driving. “This is part of driver safety training. We are now implementing a zero tolerance policy to reinforce this message to employees”. However,this lunchtime those rules were lifted after the week long public campaign by Radio NOVA.

NOVA broadcasts a diet of guitar-based music to Dublin and the commuter belt counties of Kildare, Meath & Wicklow. Featured artists include The Killers, Coldplay, The Kings of Leon and the Foo Fighters to David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac. The station has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2010, with the most recentJNLR ratings giving it 148,000 listeners throughout Dublin, Kildare, Meath & Wicklow.

More information

James Cridland — James runs, and is a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. He also publishes a free daily newsletter about podcasting, Podnews, and a weekly radio trends newsletter.

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