Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

Media Release: Time for commuter mask wearing when physical distancing can’t happen on buses and trams

Sep 4, 2020Media

The NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union’s Tram and Bus Division is calling on the Berejiklian Government to make masks on buses and trams mandatory when there are more passengers than green dots on a service.

The push comes the day after two cases from the growing CBD coronavirus cluster travelled on a bus from the CBD to the eastern suburbs.

Passengers on the X39 bus to Randwick at 6:08pm on 20 August have been told by NSW Health to get tested immediately and isolate themselves until the test results are known.

Passengers on the same express service and regular 399 on seven other days have been asked to monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if any develop.

RTBU Tram and Bus Division Secretary David Babineau said, “The NSW Government recently told bus drivers it would review health advice and guidelines if community infection levels increase, well now it should be clear that health measures are most effective when proactive, not reactive. 

“I’m calling for the NSW Government to implement a clear protocol for enforcing safe travel guidelines and more actively encourage mask wearing on public transport when the number of passengers outnumbers green dots on a bus or tram service.

“We have continually advocated for increased safety measures for bus drivers and passengers in particular during this crisis because of the risk to our drivers and their families, passengers and the broader community.

“We’re also concerned that at a time when you need to be more careful than ever about how our transport systems are being managed, the NSW Government is selling our bus operations off to the private sector which is there to make a profit, not work in the interest of public safety and interest.

“Privatisation inevitably results in stop closures and route cuts. That is only going to create bottlenecks in the system that will exacerbate the current crisis.

“This is about the NSW Government refusing to put the needs of workers and commuters first during a time of crisis,” he said.