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Tram driver apparently 'asleep at controls' is suspended

A tram driver has been suspended after video emerged appearing to show him asleep at the controls.

Credit: Evening Standard

The incident happened on Croydon's tram network in south London where seven people were killed in a crash last November.

The London Evening Standard obtained the footage apparently taken by a passenger at around 8am on Wednesday after the packed tram stopped at a set of lights in Croydon and failed to move off.

First Group, which is responsible for operating the trams, said the driver has been suspended pending an inquiry.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was "absolutely furious" and has spoken to First Group chief executive Tim O'Toole to make his feelings crystal clear.

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We are very clear that it is unacceptable for tram drivers to lose concentration, for any reason, during their shift.

We have commenced a full investigation into this incident and will take all appropriate action. The driver in question has been suspended from duty pending the outcome of this investigation.

We do not tolerate any violation of our safety policies, processes and procedures.

Any employee found to be in contravention of these will face disciplinary action.

– First Group

First Group insisted its "commitment to the safety of our passengers is unwavering".

Leon Daniels from Transport for London added:

We have taken immediate action to refer this footage to the industry regulator, the Office of Rail and Road and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, for urgent investigation.

We have also instructed First Group, who operate the tram network, to take any further action necessary to ensure that they are dealing with driver tiredness in order to keep passengers completely safe.

– Leon Daniels, Managing Director, Surface Transport at TfL