60 TfL staff have lost their lives due to Covid-19, LBC investigation finds

14 January 2021, 08:27 | Updated: 14 January 2021, 08:50

60 TfL Staff members have lost their lives due to Covid-19
60 TfL Staff members have lost their lives due to Covid-19. Picture: PA
Rachael Venables

By Rachael Venables

60 Transport for London workers have tragically lost their lives to coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, including five bus drivers since December, an LBC investigation has found.

Three new deaths of TfL workers have been recorded since the weekend, including two bus drivers.

And since December, at least five bus workers have died due to Covid-19, including two employed by operator Stagecoach.

Currently, bus drivers make up more than half of the total deaths of TfL workers, with the most recent figures showing 37 have lost their lives.

At the start of this week, one in 10 TfL workers were off sick or self isolating, and a study last year found that male bus drivers are three and a half times more likely to die from Covid-19 than men in other jobs.

Bus driver 'Tom', who is off sick with Covid-19, has told LBC that TfL "have not done enough to make them safe" and that people are not wearing masks.

If something doesn't change, he is scared "more drivers will die".

One in 10 TfL workers were self isolating at the start of this week
One in 10 TfL workers were self isolating at the start of this week. Picture: PA

"We don't know how to protect ourselves anymore than we already are with sanitising and social distancing," he said.

"We're still going out there into the public and the public aren't wearing face coverings.

"The exemption rule is not working because anybody can tell us that they are exempt even if they aren't."

He continued: "People are getting on without masks, chatting on their phones, with total disregard for other passengers and for drivers.

"There will be more losses of life if TfL don't step up to the mark and start policing this."

Read more: Police to take 'no further action' over Belly Mujinga death

Read more: TfL stops bus drivers from forcing passengers to wear face masks

Claire Mann, TfL’s Director of Bus Operations, told LBC in a statement: “Every death from coronavirus is a tragedy and our thoughts remain with the friends and families of colleagues who have died.

"We are doing all we can to protect bus drivers from the coronavirus.

"We are working with University College London to improve safety on buses, and have ensured that the driver’s cabs have been enclosed.

"We’ve made improvements to ventilation systems to ensure fresh air enters the driver’s cab as well.

“Throughout the pandemic, TfL and the bus operators have followed PHE advice as it has evolved. Cleaning has been enhanced on vehicles and in depots, and after some early shortages of hand sanitiser there have been no reported issues with its availability.

Paul Lynch, Managing Director of Stagecoach London, told LBC: "The thoughts of everyone at Stagecoach are with the families and friends of our drivers, Stephen Bennett and Samuel Sali, and the other transport workers who have sadly passed away during the pandemic.

"Samuel and Stephen had both worked for us for a number of years, and were both very well respected and valued drivers.

"Our hearts go out to all of those who have lost loved ones at this time.

"We remain incredibly proud of the selfless and professional job all transport workers are doing at this time to ensure essential travel can continue.

"We are continuing to work closely with Transport for London, the public health authorities and other organisations to keep our people and customers safe and are supporting the families of Stephen and Samuel in any way that we can."