Furious drivers share photos of filthy London buses as it’s revealed FOURTEEN TfL staff have now died from coronavirus – but Sadiq Khan claims they DON’T need to wear protective gear
- Nine bus drivers are among 14 London transport workers to have died, virus all took lives of three Tube staff
- Sadiq Khan says drivers don’t need to wear personal protective equipment as he sets out cleaning measures
- The bus driver’s son says safety of public transport workers was ‘personal’ amid growing concern from drivers
- Mother of Holloway bus driver who died from Covid-19 says she was ‘very angry’ hearing Mr Khan’s interview
Sadiq Khan today insisted London bus drivers do not need to wear personal protective equipment, despite the number of public transport workers in the capital to have died from the coronavirus rising to 14.
The London Mayor has come under fire from transport workers who say they are working in dirty conditions while 90 per cent of the capital’s buses and more than half of Tube services continue to run.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain today, Mr Khan said Transport for London had sought advice from Public Health England, the Department for Transport and the World Health Organisation on whether drivers should have PPE.
He said: ‘What they’ve told us is that PPE should only be used in care settings. You know the shortage there is of PPE for our NHS and care staff, as recently as yesterday we rechased the government to get advice on this. Their advice is quite clear transport workers should not be wearing PPE.’
Offering his condolences to the relatives of all 14 London public transport workers to died during the pandemic, Mr Khan set out some of the measures TfL was taking to protect workers and passengers.
He said: ‘We’ve made sure we’ve had the most enhanced cleaning regimes we can do, we’ve learnt lessons from around the world so far example we make sure we use antiviral hospital-style disinfectant, regularly cleaning key touch points during the course of the day. So on the buses, not just the bus garages and depots but the steering wheels and the handles.
Mr Khan also explained a plastic film was being used to cover holes in the plastic screen separating drivers and passengers.
But drivers are unhappy with their conditions, Anne Nyack appeared minutes after Mr Khan’s interview to speak about her son, Holloway bus driver Emecka Nyack, who died from Covid-19.
She said: ‘It made me very, very angry that Sadiq Khan is saying ‘they’re diong this, they’re doing that and they’re doing deep cleaning’.’
‘They’re not doing deep cleaning, they’re just spraying it. Sadiq needs to get out there and have a look at the buses and see what conditions the drivers are operating in they’re at risk my son was at risk, sadly he died. ‘
Coming under fire on GMB this morning, Mr Khan said: ‘What I do is follow the advice from WHO and PHE, their advice is; in non care setting people shouldn’t be wearing PPE.
‘It is personal to me – my dad was a bus driver, many of my friends and people I know work in public transport and I work regularly and closely with the transport unions including bus drivers on a regular basis.’
Mr Khan said the Transport for London was looking at getting passengers on the bus via the back doors.
He explained: ‘We don’t want to inadvertently, because we’re avoiding passengers coming into contact with drivers, we don’t want to have too many passengers coming into contact using the back door, at the same time we’re speaking regularly with colleagues around the world to see what we can be doing. One of the things we do know is that keeping distance between passengers.’
Mr Khan claimed all 9,000 buses currently driving around the capital have been installed with a perspex film covering holes in a plastic shield between drivers and passengers.
But one Twitter user has rubbished that claim, saying a driver was forced to use cling film instead.
Mr Khan added: ‘They really aren’t being ignored, it is personal we’re making sure we’re taking steps in London that are world leading in this area I wouldn’t want anyone to be under the impression that we’re neglecting or ignoring our bus drivers or our transport workers, they’re as brave as our NHS workers.’
It comes as the UK endures its third week of the lockdown which has seen the bus and Underground service reduced with a number of stations closed and fewer trains running.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said last week that it was not possible to add more services because of the high number of Transport for London staff who were off sick or self-isolating.
He has urged Londoners to work from home where possible to protect key workers who need to travel and to avoid travelling at rush hour if they had to commute.