An accident-prone bus driver who crashed 10 times in less than 18 months has lost his battle to get back behind the wheel.

Alan Slater hit a bollard, a wheelie bin, a bus-stop sign, several other vehicles - including two parked buses - and drove the wrong way through a bus wash during his short career as an Auckland bus driver.

He also got into strife with his bosses for struggling to stay in a bus lane when driving, not waiting for passengers and turning up late to work.

Mr Slater, whose routes were mainly on the North Shore and into downtown Auckland on express routes, yesterday said: "I swear I'm not the worst bus driver in Auckland."

After he was sacked in April last year, Mr Slater took a case for unjustified dismissal to the Employment Relations Authority, claiming his final accident was not properly investigated.

But in a ruling issued yesterday, the authority said the sacking was justified as Mr Slater's driving was "so poor that the company did not have confidence in him to drive safely".

Mr Slater began working for New Zealand Bus in May 2008, and was assessed as competent to drive solo in July.

Two weeks later, managers were expressing concern about his driving, in particular positioning of the bus and concentration.

Little more than a month later, he was observed "having trouble staying in lane".

In mid-October that year, Mr Slater had his first fender-bender, when he hit a wheelie bin.

He said the bin's owner should not have put it so close to the kerb.

In January 2009, he was in trouble for not stopping for passengers, then he hit a van's tailgate and a bus-stop sign in one week in February.

After more incidents, Mr Slater attended a defensive driving course in May 2009, but in the same month he collided with another vehicle. The company accepted his explanation that he was not to blame.

Between June and October 2009, he had another four accidents - three of them with stationary objects.

The final accident came in March last year when he hit a concrete bollard.

Mr Slater told the Herald seven of the 10 accidents weren't his fault and the other three involved mitigating circumstances.

"If every driver was sacked for three minor scrapes, there would be no bus drivers left in Auckland."

Mr Slater said the company "wanted rid of me" despite his scoring a perfect 100 per cent in four "mystery shopper" surveys of his driving and attitude to passengers.

He had lost his Stanmore Bay house in a mortgagee sale while waiting for the Employment Relations Authority process, and was now planning to appeal against the decision.

"I have not had a serious accident in 47 years on the roads (as a bus driver and truck driver before that). I will take any independent test of my driving.

"With the amount of driving bus drivers do, there are bound to be a few scrapes."

The ERA ruling said that if anything, NZ Bus had been "overly tolerant".

"In dismissing Mr Slater, NZ Bus acted in a way that a fair and reasonable employer would have acted in all the circumstances," ERA member James Wilson said in the ruling.

NZ Bus operations manager Zane Fulljames said the company was confident it had followed procedure.

"We had issues with Mr Slater's performance, which we believed was poor," he said. "We endeavoured to resolve the problems on several occasions."


October 15, 2008: Wheelie bin.

February 3, 2009: Van's tailgate.

February 11, 2009: Bus-stop sign.

August 31, 2009: Stationary bus.

October 7, 2009: Stationary bus.

March 19, 2010: Concrete bollard.