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Source: London Assembly

Too many bus drivers, and Black and Asian transport workers have died during the pandemic, and today’s TfL bus safety report shows serious issues that the Mayor should have tackled sooner. [1] 

Figures obtained recently by London Assembly member Caroline Russell show that of the 44 TfL transport workers who died from coronavirus, 34 worked in buses, as opposed to just 4 on tube and rail. [2] These figures highlight a worrying public health issue for bus drivers in London. 

The figures also show that 31 of the 44 transport workers who died of coronavirus were Black or Asian and 39 were aged 45 or above.  

Unions including Unite called for TfL to tackle bus driver exhaustion last year, after a report showed that fatigue was widespread among London bus drivers. [3] 

Caroline Russell says: 

Bus driver deaths have been a shocking reminder of the toll of coronavirus on London. People going to work just to keep our city moving have lost their lives. The report rightly highlights the need for faster action and a more uniform approach to bus driver wellbeing among bus companies, which the Mayor should lead, through TfL. 

Data I’ve obtained shows that most transport workers who died in London were bus drivers and shockingly, the majority were Black or Asian. I have long been concerned about bus driver welfare, and have called for a fair deal for bus drivers with a strong focus on public health measures, like access to toilets and shift patterns that avoid fatigue – the Mayor could have got these issues sorted before coronavirus hit. 

During the lockdown, I urged TfL to bring in middle door boarding on buses, be clear on PPE and improve access to toilets and facilities for hand washing. The government have their share of responsibility here, but the Mayor can and should act to prioritise transport worker safety and public health.  

The Mayor must act now to provide bus drivers with access to toilets, and safe shift patterns, so that London’s transport system, and the workers within it, are protected and ready for any further peaks in the virus spread.

MIL OSI United Kingdom