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August 4, 2020

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Coronavirus: Review ordered into London bus driver deaths

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that an independent review is to look at coronavirus infections and deaths among the capital’s bus workers.

London busA report is set to study TfL’s response during the coronavirus pandemic after it was revealed that thirty-three London bus workers have now died after contracting COVID-19, including 29 drivers. Part of the study will examine the measures introduced to shield drivers, such as how the vehicles are cleaned.

In April, SHP reported how passengers using some London bus services would only be able to board through the middle doors as part of increased efforts to protect drivers. At that stage, the virus had claimed the lives of nine drivers.

Other safety measures introduced included signs to discourage people from sitting near the driver and adding an extra layer of protection to the clear screen that separates the driver from passengers, as well as the use of anti-viral disinfectant to clean the interiors of vehicles.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said the review will “ensure we are taking every possible measure to protect our heroic staff”.

University College London (UCL) Institute of Health Equity will undertake the report, which will be fast-tracked within weeks, in order for findings to be quickly implemented across the network.

The BBC has reported that a secondary part of the report is due to be commissioned to compare infection and death rates between frontline transport workers and London’s population in general.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recently released figures suggesting that bus drivers in the UK were among workers with higher rates of death from COVID-19 than other staff.

Male bus and coach drivers were found to have a rate of 26.4 deaths per 100,000 compared to sales and retail assistants at a rate of 19.8.

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