Bus Drivers across NSW are still out in their communities everyday keeping society moving, and the Transport Workers’ Union of NSW (TWU) is continuing the work with Private Bus Operators and Transport for NSW to keep them safe during the pandemic.
The TWU represents the workforce that is in the private bus fleet in NSW which makes up around 80 percent of the bus fleet in NSW.
As restrictions begin to ease across NSW, Richard Olsen, NSW Branch Secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union is calling on members of the public to understand that bus operators and drivers and passengers must be kept safe.
“Bus Drivers are doing their job to keep people moving, we would ask that bus passengers take responsibility for their own safety aboard a bus, and not to take out any frustrations they have on a driver,” Mr Olsen said.
The TWU knows from surveying Bus Drivers, they are too often subject to abuse from passengers and during the pandemic this has not changed.
The TWU of NSW introduced cash handling bans, and introduced the use of tape on buses to block off seats to keep appropriate social distancing in place to protect the driver and passengers. Transport for NSW subsequently pushed those measures throughout the state.
The TWU has been working with Transport for NSW and Operators to see in the installation of spit screens to keep drivers protected in their workplace. We are hopeful that screens will start to be installed from next week.
The TWU is also calling for the NSW Government to extend special paid Covid-19 leave provisions, available to State Transit drivers but not drivers who are in private companies contracted to Transport for NSW.
As public transport usage increases, the Union is calling for the NSW Government to ensure that the following conditions are in place:
- No more than 50% capacity on buses
- Bus Drivers will not take full loads
- Passengers to plan their journeys and consider travelling out of peak times
- We are asking that passengers not sit next to each other or directly behind another person.
- Passengers to not take frustrations out on drivers
We are aware that different rules will apply to School Bus Routes.
The TWU is also calling for the NSW Government to assist Drivers who should not be required to be the enforcers of Covid-19 rules on the network.
“The government can ensure that NSW Police Transport Command, or revenue inspectors can be distributed through the network, at major passenger interchanges to assist drivers and enforce rules,” Mr Olsen said.
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