Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

COVID-19 update for Newcastle members

Mar 17, 2020COVID19

Last week the Union made contact with Transport for NSW about suspending cash handling on buses in response to member concerns.

Keolis Downer was also involved in this but the decision to suspend fare collection is not one the company is empowered to make. Ultimately, the issue of cash handling is more broad than simply bus fares – it is an issue that has the potential to impact large parts of the economy and must therefore be looked at carefully. Because of this, no quick decision has been, or will be, made by the Government.

Balanced against this is our key concern: the need for our members to feel safe at work.

It should be remembered that handling cash is less of a risk than not washing your hands. As a first priority, members should ensure good hand hygiene is followed at all times. (a handy hand washing graphic is included below).

Following the facilities audit last year, led by both local delegates, Newcastle bus services now have a good range of locations with facilities for washing your hands. Hand sanitiser is, while becoming difficult to get, also a good fallback.

All that said, it is clear that people are concerned and as much as possible, we have taken steps to ensure members are protected.

For that reason, effective immediately, all RTBU members are directed to temporarily cease the collection of cash fares in Newcastle.

This measure will be reviewed as the situation evolves and Government direction changes. Any issues that arise from this measure should be reported immediately to your local delegate.