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Coronavirus: TfL to launch probe into why 29 bus drivers have died with Covid-19

PUBLISHED: 17:20 21 May 2020

A sign on a bus stop pays homage to the bus drivers who have died after contracting coronavirus. Picture: Alex Amoros

A sign on a bus stop pays homage to the bus drivers who have died after contracting coronavirus. Picture: Alex Amoros

Alex Amoros

TfL has launched a probe into why 33 transport workers have died with coronavirus – but some bus drivers claim it’s “too late”.

TfL has asked University College London (UCL) Institute of Health Equity to provide independent advice as part of a forthcoming two-part study to better understand the pattern of coronavirus infections and deaths among London’s bus workers.

This comes after 33 transport workers and 29 bus drivers, including at least two people who worked from Holloway Bus Garage, died with the virus. The first part of the study will examine the effectiveness of existing measure to keep drivers safe, such as deep cleaning places across the network and social distancing rules for staff and customers.

TfL will make improvement based on this advice, if necessary.

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The second part of the study will examine the potential contribution that occupation exposure plays in differences in infection and death rates between London’s frontline transport workers and the general London population.

Nick Stavrinou drives the 393 bus from Chalk Farm to Clapton via Holloway Bus Garage.

He was good friends with 36-year-old Emeka Nyack Ihenacho, of St Alban’s Road in Highgate, who attended William Ellis School and died last month after contracting Covid-19.

Nick told this paper: “TfL acted to late, they waited for deaths to bring hand sanitiser. They waited for deaths to shut off the front door.

“They waited for deaths to get buses cleaned. They’re always mentioning about following government guidelines but how the hell can you social distance on a bus or any London transport? It’s just putting innocent lives at risk and I hold them accountable for this – the system should have been shut down for a few weeks then slowly brought back. Maybe that would have saved bus drivers lives and also passengers that we don’t know about as well.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “The transport workers who have lost their lives during this pandemic are constantly in my thoughts, and it is with them in mind that I will continue to do absolutely everything I can to keep staff and passengers safe. TfL is seeking independent advice to make sure we better understand the impact of coronavirus on our bus workers and to ensure we are taking every possible measure to protect our heroic staff. As the son of a bus driver, this is deeply personal to me.”


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