The Transport Workers’ Union has reiterated its calls for rapid COVID testing and vaccines to be offered at bus depots, following today’s chaos at depots in the Inner West.
Bus services across Region Six (servicing Sydney’s Inner West and Southern Suburbs) were thrown into chaos on Wednesday morning, with the Leichhardt depot being forced to close after 2 drivers tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 20 others were forced into isolation after being deemed close contacts.
The TWU has also received reports the chaos has spread to the nearby Tempe depot, with dozens of close contacts and cancelled services as well.
TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said the situation was a stark demonstration of the need for more resources specifically targeted at bus drivers.
“The chaos at the depots in Leichhardt and Tempe shows that the status quo just isn’t good enough when it comes to protecting bus drivers from COVID-19.
“Over the past 2 months we’ve seen dozens of bus services listed as close contact exposure sites – but the State Government hasn’t done anything to improve access to testing and vaccines for the people driving those buses.
“Right now there are health workers and other essential workers who have been left with no way to get to work, because of the State Government’s failure to act.
“Bus drivers are on the frontlines of COVID every day, and as such they should be given access to rapid testing and vaccines at their depots, to ensure they and their passengers are kept safe and that bus services relied on by so many essential workers can continue to operate.
“The TWU is calling on the NSW Government to urgently roll out rapid COVID testing and pop-up vaccine hubs at all bus depots across Sydney.
“If the State Government doesn’t implement these sensible solutions immediately, then who knows when we will be able to return to normal bus services in these areas.”
Similar rapid testing arrangements have been in place for drivers transporting hotel quarantine passengers to and from Sydney Airport since before Christmas.
The TWU has successfully negotiated arrangements for affected drivers to be paid as normal while in isolation.
Media Contact: Mitch Wright – 0430 186 590