Labour calls for new safety guidance for bus operators to prevent further driver deaths from coronavirus
Labour are calling for better advice to protect bus drivers from Covid-19 (PA)
Labour has called on the Government to give bus operators clear safety advice in a bid to prevent more drivers dying from the coronavirus.
Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon said guidance up to now had been “contradictory”, leaving drivers at risk of catching the deadly bug.
He said the Department for Transport should set out whether buses should going completely cashless during the pandemic, what protective equipment should be issued, and whether screens should be put in place to protect those behind the wheel.
It comes after London mayor Sadiq Khan revealed last week that 20 bus drivers had died in the capital alone from Covid-19, and there have also been deaths in other cities such as Bristol and Nottingham.
Mr McMahon set out his demands in a letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
He said: "There is a mix of overlapping and at times contradictory scientific advice and guidance in circulation.
"While this is understandable during an unprecedented time, the job of Government should surely be to cut through that noise and give those that need it clear, unified and constant guidance and direction.
"The fact that different bus operators have diverging views on the best approach is confusing matters further.
"This can only be achieved with guidance for all transport operators which is then published and publicised by your department."
He added: “There is concern relating to the provision of PPE, and which approach provides the best protection, the risk in transmission through cash handling, and how passengers can be managed as the lock down is lifted and patronage increases.”
In response a Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Our transport workers do a vital job in keeping essential journeys going, and we’re committed to keeping them safe.
“The Government has published its evidence-based strategy on personal protective equipment, as well as further guidance on social distancing in the workplace, which we expect employers to follow closely in order to best look after their staff.
“People should stay home and avoid using the transport network if possible, to prevent the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.”
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