ON behalf of Keighley Trades Union Council, I wish to express my support for the bus drivers employed by Transdev.

I have travelled to work by bus during the present crisis. In the aftermath of this crisis I believe it will be shown that their profession will be one of the highest to have suffered illness during this pandemic.

With the easing of lockdown restrictions, more passengers will now be required to travel to work by public transport. The Government has acknowledged this and introduced the requirement for passengers to wear face coverings on public transport. I note with concern the criticism which has occurred, especially on social media, that not all bus drivers are wearing face coverings whilst driving.

As a result I contacted my trade union to seek guidance. I have been informed that for drivers wearing glasses, there would be a danger of their glasses steaming up and more generally everyone adjusts their face covering. I am sure all your readers will agree it is essential that the drivers concentrate on driving and anything which inhibits this should be avoided. Also there are rigorous safety precautions in place which enable the drivers to be cocooned in isolating them from passengers.

My union has also expressed concern that drivers are not enforcers of the face coverings requirement and the Government guidance allows exemption to the requirement to wear face coverings for certain medical conditions. How can the driver know which passengers are classed as not being required to wear face coverings whilst travelling? There have been many cases of abuse to staff reported nationally and this is only likely to increase when others question why some passengers are not wearing face coverings.

As with the phased return to school, the increase in bus usage has seen trade union members who are asserting their right to safe working conditions being blamed rather than the incoherent Government advice, messaging and lack of negotiations prior to changes in lockdown


Executive member, Keighley Trades Union Council

* Email your letters to alistair.shand@keighleynews.co.uk