Ensuring the safety of bus drivers during the coronavirus epidemic is a priority for operators, says the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).
There has been concern among employees and unions after a number of bus drivers across the UK have died after contracting COVID-19. Nine drivers have died in London and one bus driver in Bristol has also passed away.
The CPT said that bus companies have been working to ensure vehicles are clean, drivers have access to hand cleaning materials and that social distancing rules are recognised by staff and passengers.
The bus sector will also be commissioning an independent assessment of the risks faced by drivers can be better understood and solved.
Trials of middle-door boarding will be undertaken for Transport for London by operator Abellio.
CPT Chief Executive Graham Vidler said: “Bus operators across the country are providing an essential service at a time of national emergency. This couldn’t be done without the thousands of drivers and other staff doing an incredible job to keep routes running and keeping them and passengers safe is our top priority.
“In addition to the enhanced cleaning regime that is already in place and promoting good personal hygiene practices a range of other measures have been implemented focusing on driver safety. These include distributing hand sanitiser, reintroducing screens between drivers and passengers, encouraging payment by contactless or mobile ticketing over cash, making seats in close proximity to drivers unavailable for passengers and designing timetables with local authorities to provide capacity to allow the recommended social distancing to be possible.
“As well as pursuing clear guidance from the Government, operators are commissioning a thorough assessment of all the risks facing drivers working in the industry. This will be independently assessed and further action taken urgently where it is identified as being necessary.”
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