Transport for London (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.
The studies are being commissioned following the tragic deaths of 33 colleagues, including 29 drivers, among bus operators within London and will ensure that TfL is taking all possible measures to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of those working to keep the bus network moving.
The first part of the study, into which UCL Institute of Health Equity are providing advice, will review and advise on TfL's operational response during the pandemic. It will examine the range of measures that have been introduced to protect bus workers, including the rigorous cleaning regime in place across the network and social distancing measures for both members of staff and customers. This work will take place within a matter of weeks, enabling TfL to quickly undertake any improvements to current measures as necessary.
The second part of the study, which will be commissioned shortly, 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, by adjusting for a range of risk factors including age, gender, ethnicity, economic status and non-occupational exposures. This will take around three to four months and will help inform recommendations on any additional measures that should be put in place to protect these key workers. The full scope of the study are still being finalised.
The 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 from UCL Institute of Health Equity 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.
“I urge all Londoners to do their bit to keep our transport workers safe by only using public transport if you have no other alternative. It is crucial that the demand on services is as low as possible to enable social distancing for the safety of both staff and passengers.”