Recently, news of Covid-19 clusters breaking out in bus interchanges has been worrying. Transport providers also asked passengers to be more patient and understanding if there are longer waits for buses due to the sudden manpower crunch. As of 7 Sep, the Covid-19 cluster at bus interchanges had grown to 504.
This outbreak at the interchanges has highlighted the fact that our bus drivers are also essential workers. Even when most of the workforce were allowed to work from home (WFH), bus drivers had to continue their work. Following the Covid-19 cluster, some bus drivers had to work overtime and on their rest days to mitigate the sudden lack of drivers.
Be kind and understanding despite the longer wait
In a Facebook post, labour MP and executive secretary of the National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) said that the union has been working to help affected bus captains. In particular, they helped a bus driver seek alternative accommodation promptly when his landlord asked him to leave after he had tested positive for Covid-19.
The union is also monitoring the recovery process of all affected bus captains and working to help them transit back to work safely and smoothly after their recovery.
Mr Yong said, “To better protect our bus workers and commuters, all high touch point areas in the interchange are being cleaned and disinfected every hour. Cleaning and disinfecting of buses are also being done more regularly.”
Thankfully, the situation continues to be under control as it was just announced that under 10 per cent of public bus drivers are affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Currently, only five services have been suspended. They are express services 12e, 43e and 518 as well as city direct services 661 and 666.
Mr Yong also called for commuters to be understanding and appreciate the bus drivers. In particular, bus captain Norazlan Bin Zulkefli told Mr Yong, “If we don’t report for duty, who is going to drive the bus?”
The dedication that these bus drivers have for their work, even in the face of a pandemic, is admirable and heartwarming! Remember, the next time you board a bus, smile and greet the drivers! They could do with some encouragement too!