The Managing Director of CT4N, the trading arm of Nottingham Community Transport, has urged the government to prioritise the bus driver role for coronavirus COVID-19 testing when it is rolled out.
Ian Combellack’s call came as CT4N used volunteers from among its driving staff to start the phased reintroduction of services from Monday onwards (20 April). Services were suspended the previous weekend following two cases of coronavirus COVID-19 among CT4N’s drivers.
The period of suspension allowed time for the operator to undertake “a thorough review” of its sanitisation and safety requirements, among other processes.
Adds Mr Combellack: “While it was confirmed that we were meeting government and Public Health England guidance for workplaces, we identified a number of areas where we can go beyond those.”
Most of the changes introduce more detailed instructions around existing cleaning processes on buses and in depots. Additionally, CT4N has purchased three ‘fogging’ disinfectant machines to enhance the daily deep clean of each vehicle.
Further social distancing measures on buses have been created by closing off tip-up seats, although the space will remain available for wheelchair users.
Where concerns about infection arise, new quarantine areas for vehicles involved have been created with separate arrangements for cleaning and safe disposal of potentially contaminated material.
Mr Combellack has paid tribute to Nottingham City Transport, which stepped in to provide cover for the Medilink service. CT4N is now in discussiow with Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council about a “priority timetable for service reintroduction, which will include some school services,” he continues.
“We regret having to suspend these important services, but we remain convinced that it was the right thing to do. Our drivers, like other key workers, face risks every day.
“We call on the government to recognise that and to ensure that the bus driver role is prioritised for testing when it is rolled out.”