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More buses to get protective screens in Cornwall

More buses to get protective screens in Cornwall

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:03am 7th April 2020. (Updated at 9:31am 7th April 2020)

Written by Ed Oldfield, Local Democracy Reporter

More bus drivers are to get protective screens in their cabs as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

First Bus is to fit the roll-down plastic screens on its Cornwall by Kernow fleet and work is due to take place this week.

It follows news last week that the operator of Plymouth Citybus and Go Cornwall said it is installing flexible screens and offering drivers protective visors.

At the weekend it emerged that three drivers and two controllers in London have died after testing positive for coronavirus.

In the Westcountry, a Plymouth-based driver with Stagecoach was reported to have been taken to hospital with coronavirus and a  driver with the disease has died in Bristol.

Bus companies are running reduced services to provide a network for key workers and essential journeys during the Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Drivers have been concerned about the risk of the disease spreading due to close contact with passengers, particularly handling cash.

Companies have introduced measures to combat the disease in line with Government guidelines including increased cleaning of vehicles, and are urging travellers to use cashless payment.

cornwall by kernow bus ldrs
Buses in Cornwall are getting more protective equipment to help prevent the spread of Covid-19

Alex Carter, managing director of Camborne-based First Bus company Cornwall by Kernow said fitting the new screens should start this week.

Following the arrival of a number of vehicles from elsewhere in First Group to bolster our Cornwall operations, the usual refurbishment work was undertaken to ensure these vehicles are consistent with, and provide a customer experience that is consistent with the rest of our Cornwall by Kernow fleet.

“Existing screens were removed as part of the refurbishment, in preparation of the installation of so-called drop-down screens, which are due to be rolled out across our entire in-service fleet.”

Alex Carter, Cornwall by Kernow

The bus workers’ union RMT has called on the Government to enforce a national charter of safety measures to protect drivers and passengers, including cashless travel and cab screens.

“Buses are an essential service being run for and by frontline workers. 

“It is therefore crucial bus services are safeguarded whilst the health risk to both the workers that run the buses and the passengers who have to travel are kept to an absolute minimum.”

RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash 

The Government says people should only use public transport if they have to and not if they have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating.

Travellers should comply with social distancing measures, including staying 2m apart from others.

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