London mayor says TfL working with operators to ensure safety

 
TfL have ensured bus operators are taking steps to keep staff as safe as possible

 
This weekend it was revealed that at least five London bus workers have died after contracting covid-19. Unverified reports this morning (Monday) suggesting that figure has now increased.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “absolutely devastated” to hear about the deaths. He said his thoughts were with their families and friends.

“I have been clear that our incredible public transport staff – on the buses, tubes, trams and trains – are critical workers, making a heroic effort to allow our NHS staff to save more lives,” he added.

Khan also said drivers on London buses are shielded by a Perspex security screen and TfL have ensured bus operators are taking steps to keep staff as safe as possible – with enhanced cleaning, stopping passengers from riding near drivers and sealing gaps around those Perspex security screens.

“TfL will continues to make enhancements across public transport in London to ensure there are even higher levels of protection,” the mayor added.

I have been clear that our incredible public transport staff… are critical workers, making a heroic effort to allow our NHS staff to save more lives

Gareth Powell, TfL’s managing director for surface transport, said TfL had been offering London’s bus operators “every support possible”.

He continued: “The safety of our staff and customers is our absolute priority and we have been working closely with the bus companies, the mayor and Unite to implement a range of changes and improvements to keep the bus network and garages safe for those operating and using it, in accordance with Public Health England advice.”

The Unite union, which represents that majority of bus drivers in the capital said their members were “performing a heroic job in getting NHS and care workers to their places of work”.

Peter Kavanagh, the union’s regional secretary, said the deaths were a terrible tragedy and the union would assist their families in every way possible.

“My officers are holding daily meetings with TfL, exploring further safety improvements and we are absolutely committed to doing everything in our power to make the driving of buses safe during this unprecedented crisis,” he said.

“We are also calling on the government to make provisions for transport workers in terms of Personal Protective Equipment.

“If any driver has safety concerns, then it is imperative that they inform their employer and Unite representative immediately. The union will immediately act on all such concerns.”