Steve Garelick, Regional Organiser at the GMB (General, Municipal, Boilermakers) Union, has called for Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, to take extra measures in ensuring the health and safety of all public transport workers including taxi and private hire drivers.
In a letter addressed to Mr Shapps, Garelick has requested all drivers have access to hand washing facilities and hand sanitisers, as well as face masks and gloves, to reduce the risk of contamination when travelling in such close quarters with members of the public.
In addition to protective wear being made available to drivers, Garelick has also requested that the method of tendering cash should be suspended until such time as COVID-19 is eradicated.
The UK are not the first to call for such measures to be introduced. TaxiPoint recently reported on calls for the Italian Government to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to drivers and customers to alleviate the risk of infection.
The call was made by ‘not-for-profit’ national taxi organisation, Uritaxi, following reports that a number of taxi drivers had contracted the disease and sadly passed away in Italy.
In relation to the GMB Union's requests, Mr Garelick has confirmed that a copy of the letter has also been sent to Transport for London who have reportedly seen a number of Bus drivers and taxi drivers already fall victim to the deadly virus.