New boarding measures on London’s buses to help protect drivers
Transport for London (TfL) is starting a trial of middle-door only boarding in buses this week as part of increased measures to ensure that public transport is safe for staff and essential workers.
Accoring to the Unite union, eight bus workers have died in London after contracting coronavirus.
The new measure will ensure that drivers can maintain social distancing and builds on other safety improvements including a clear film covering holes in the drivers’ protective screen and discouraging the use of seats near the driver.
However, Unite has said that the measures need to be effected immediately and added that more needs to be done. It’s also called for a reduction in the number of passengers allowed on a bus at one time to further increase social distancing.
Unite is also working with the capital’s bus companies to ensure that drivers are not being forced to take their breaks on the road but in areas that are clean, safe and where they can socially distance.
Unite regional secretary Pete Kavanagh said: “Unite is doing everything within its power to ensure bus workers’ safety.
“To improve social distancing, which will protect drivers and passengers alike, the maximum number of bus passengers must also be reduced.
“Most of all we need action not prevarication from TfL. We have experienced too many tragedies during this crisis and every measure that can be taken to protect workers must be taken.”
TfL has continued to remind the public that travel on public transport is only for critical workers making absolutely essential journeys; it’s seen the number of people using buses plummet by around 85%.
Claire Mann, director of bus operations at TfL, said: “London’s hard-working transport workers are making a heroic effort at the frontline of the fight against this pandemic, and it is only right we consider everything we can to protect them.
“Most Londoners can do their bit to protect our bus colleagues and other critical workers by remembering: stay home, don’t travel, save lives.”