Commenting on the announcement by Transport for London (TfL) that central door only loading will be now imposed on London buses, Unite’s London and Eastern regional secretary Pete Kavanagh said:
“Unite has been demanding central boarding as an essential safety measure during these times because bus workers are, understandably, fearful for their health. It is reassuring that the Mayor and TfL have listened and acted now to protect this workforce.
“We would like to thank the trade unions and members of the public who have shown such solidarity and support for our bus workers during this dreadful period. The extra safety measures now in place show why it is so important that workers are represented by strong trade unions.
“We have 20,000 bus workers across the capital. They have lost colleagues and friends in recent weeks – with the total number of deaths now at 20. They need to see all the support that they can muster from the Mayor, the employers and TfL so that they can assure their loved ones that they are being kept safe at work.
“We now need to see government introduce emergency measures requiring members of the public to cover their faces while using London transport. This is shown to prevent individuals spreading the virus to others, rather than protecting those wearing a mask or a face covering, and it is vital for the safety of our members.
“There also needs to be more signage and announcements on buses and public transport to remind passengers to adhere to social distancing and safety measures, as well as strict rules on the maximum number of passengers buses can take at any one time.
“It is crucial that the public also play their part. If you are getting on a bus for any other reason than for essential travel then you are putting the lives of drivers and other transport workers at risk. If you do have to travel, make sure that you take all necessary social distancing and safety precautions – our members’ lives depend on it.”