Writing for the OnLondon website, Caroline Pidgeon highlights the risks that bus drivers face from the coronavirus - but also the long-standing issues they face with low pay, fatigue and poor working conditions.
Specific factors about drivers’ working lives outside buses themselves could be contributing to their susceptibility. Conditions at bus depots need to be examined. Incredibly, only now are we finally ensuring that drivers have access to toilets and hand washing facilities on all bus routes. We also need to explore why many bus drivers have, in the past, felt the need to come into work even when feeling unwell. The fact that many of them travel long distances each day before beginning their shifts should also be considered. Many simply can’t afford to live closer to their depots. Why are they so poorly paid?
We need to know why so many bus drivers have recently died in London from Covid-19. We also need to ensure that every safety policy is being properly enforced on every bus and at every depot. If we are really concerned about the safety of bus drivers we need to look at the bigger picture – starting with the bus companies.