Mae hwn yn fersiwn HTML o atodiad i'r cais Rhyddid Gwybodaeth 'TfL Discussion about 10 June 2021 Meeting re "Bus Driver Safety during the Pandemic"'.

TfL Confidential 
Briefing
To: Lilli Matson and Samantha Philips 
From: Lucy Kosenko, Government Relations Officer, TfL, 
 
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 
Meeting with Keith Prince AM - Covid Death Rate of London Bus Drivers
Thursday 10 June 2021 
16.30
Via Teams 

GLA Attendees:         Keith Prince AM 
External Attendees:     
, Campaigner 
, Bus Driver of route 384, Metroline 
TfL Attendees:
Lilli Matson, Chief Safety, Health & Environment Officer 
            Samantha Philips, Head of Health and Wellbeing 
            Tom Cunnington, Head of Buses Business Development 
Jane Lupson, Senior Bus Safety Development Manager 
            Euan MacFarlane, Government Relations 
Context 
During the MQ session on March 18, 2021, Keith Prince AM asked: based on TfL and ONS 
data, why do London bus drivers have twice the Covid death rate per 100,000 of the most 
dangerous occupations national y and twice the rate of bus drivers nationally? 
As part of his response, the Mayor said he would ask TfL to sit down with Keith to go through 
the data we have available and to discuss with him the actions taken and continuing to be 
taken to protect staff and customers. 
Agenda 
-
Presentation (PowerPoint) by TfL of data available on Covid death rates of London bus
drivers
-
Actions by TfL to protect staff and customers
Appendix 1 - Relevant MQs 
Appendix 2 
- Keith Prince AM biography 
Appendix 3 
- 
 Mayoral correspondence 

TfL Confidential 
 
 
1.  TfL Data on Covid related bus driver deaths  
•  All the deaths of transport workers in London and across the country are tragic and our 
thoughts remain with their families, friends and colleagues.   
•  Sadly 52 London bus drivers employed by bus operators have died since March 2020. 
 
2. Protecting staff and customers  
•  We have made huge efforts over the last year to protect staff and customers on TfL’s 
services.   
•  Stringent safety measures have been introduced, including cleaning with long-lasting, 
hospital grade antiviral cleaning fluid and limits on passenger numbers to allow for 
social distancing. 
•  Staff facilities have been reconfigured to enable better social distancing and temporary 
portacabin facilities have been constructed to enable staff to spread out.   
•  For a period last year, passengers were able to embark and disembark only from the rear 
doors to keep commuters away from drivers.  
•  We were one of the first transport authorities to initiate a series of regular, independent 
sampling on the Tube and bus network and analyse for the presence of Covid-19. These 
inspections carried out by Imperial College London (ICL) test air and surfaces and have 
consistently shown no evidence of the virus on the transport network. 
 
Driver’s cabs 
•  We have also worked with UCL’s Centre for Transport Studies (CTS) and Department of 
Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (CEGE) to look at the drivers’ cabs on 
buses, to understand the movement of air and implement much safer screens and 
ventilation systems. 
•  We have continued to work with UCL’s CTS and CEGE on the bus saloon and based on 
their latest evidence on the benefits of improved fresh air and air movement within the 
saloon we have started to introduce ‘window blocks’ on the ‘pull open’ windows across 
the fleet to improve the airflow. These blocks prevent the windows from fully closing at 
any time, yet prevent rain from blowing in, and will be rolled out by mid May 2021. 
•  Bus ventilation systems have been improved and drivers’ cabs have been ful y sealed up 
to reduce the risk of transmission fol owing UCL’s work on cab design and air flow.   
 
Enforcement of face coverings 
•  TfL enforcement of the face covering requirement was scaled up on 4th July. Between 
Saturday 4 July 2020 – Sunday 06 June 2021. 
• 193030 people were stopped by TfL enforcement officers from getting on our public 
transport services until they put on a face covering. Most complied by getting their face 

TfL Confidential 
 
covering from their bag or pocket, putting it on correctly or purchasing one from a 
nearby shop. 
• 12418 people were prevented from boarding and 2817 were ejected from the service. 
• The police are engaging with similar levels of passengers and stopping those without a 
face covering and who do not have an exemption from travelling. The numbers above 
does not include police enforcement. 
•  We have introduced a process by which drivers can report issues with non-compliance 
through SMS functionality on their buses. These reports are analysed and inform the 
deployments of police and TfL enforcement officers. 
•  We have issued clear communication to customers on the measures in force including 
face covering compliance and social distancing. This includes targeted communications 
on social media to improve compliance among young customers.  
•  We also play automated messages about the requirements to wear face coverings on 
public transport, making passengers aware that police and TfL enforcement officers 
patrol the network to enforce.  
 
Working with bus operators and Trade Unions 
•  We have worked with bus operators and Trade Unions to standardise relevant processes 
and procedures across bus operators. Recommended equipment is in place for all 
employees, for example hand sanitiser and cleaning wipes, and there is a continued 
focus on enhanced cleaning of driver facilities and depots. 
•  We horizon scan for new and innovative measures to improve safety for staff, and we 
will work with bus operators to strengthen the messaging around social distancing and 
mask wearing to maintain focus and ensure compliance, to reduce the risk of 
complacency. 
•  One element currently being explored by TfL with the bus operators is improved driver 
health assessments. Introducing more frequent and potentially more rigorous health 
assessments for drivers could help detect potentially serious health conditions earlier 
such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, and enable bus operators to assist 
drivers in getting the help they need.  
•  Having shared the recommendations of the UCL phase 2 report with the bus operators, 
we are now working with them to ensure that the actions identified as a result of the 
UCL recommendations are put in place as soon and as robustly as possible. 
 
Risk assessment 
•  We also introduced a new COVID-19 Age Risk Assessment, enabling al  employees to 
easily work out their ‘COVID-19 age’. The purpose of this assessment is to determine 
whether further assessment by Occupational Health is advised and it has helped to 
identify a number of people at higher risk who may not have otherwise come forward, 
and also helped confirm that some other people could safely return to work. 
 
 
 




TfL Confidential 
 
2021/1964 May 27, 2021 
Accountability for London Bus Driver Deaths from Covid-19 
On 18 March 2021, the Deputy Mayor and I participated on a radio interview on the Vanessa 
Feltz show. When the Deputy Mayor was asked if she took any responsibility for London Bus 
Driver deaths from Covid-19, she bluntly said “No.” Given that we know (a) that your response 
to Mayor’s Question 2020/3659 clearly shows that TfL withdrew its staff from bus depots and 
buses and had no way to inspect onsite conditions; (b) that your response to question 
2021/0121 confirms that TfL doesn’t have copies of the risk assessments of its bus contractors’ 
Covid-19 risk reduction actions; and (c) that your response to question 2021/0544 reveals that 
TfL doesn’t have any information on the Covid-19 risk carried by bus depot ferry drivers, does 
the public rejection of any responsibility for London bus driver deaths made by your Deputy 
Mayor on 18 March 2021 also reflect your view as TfL Chair and Mayor of London? 
-  I am deeply saddened by the deaths of all transport workers from covid-19 in London, 
and my thoughts remain with the families and friends of the colleagues this devastating 
virus has taken from us. 
-  Throughout the pandemic, Transport for London (TfL) and the bus operators have 
continued to follow Government and Public Health England advice, and the scaling back 
of physical visits was in accordance with the Government advice at the time. 
-  I do not accept that the reduction in visits would have in any way contributed to the 
number of bus driver deaths. The first phase of the UCL research made clear that the 
majority of bus driver deaths resulted from infection before the first lockdown began, 
when the prevalence of the virus in London was much higher than the rest of the 
country. It also confirmed that lockdown was the most effective measure for reducing 
mortality among bus drivers. It therefore stands to reason that minimising the number 
of people on any particular site, at any particular time, was a significant mitigation and a 
pragmatic one. 
-  TfL has worked closely with the bus operators to ensure that a joined-up approach is 
being taken across all aspects of the response, and that suitable controls are being 
implemented to keep staff and passengers safe. While TfL does not hold written copies 
of the bus operator risk assessments, confirmation was provided through regular 
conference calls that the key measures were being carried out. 
 
2021/1345 March 18, 2021 
Covid Death Rate of London Bus Drivers 
Based on TfL and ONS data, why do London bus drivers have twice the Covid death rate per 
100,000 of the most dangerous occupations nationally and twice the rate of bus drivers 
nationally? 
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Let me start by saying that all the deaths of transport 
workers in London and across the country are tragic and my thoughts remain with their families, 
friends and colleagues.  It saddens me deeply to say that 88 transport workers have died in the 
pandemic in London, including 51 bus drivers employed by bus operators. 
  

TfL Confidential 
 
On the specific figures mentioned by Assembly Member Prince, I am not clear what datasets he 
is comparing, but a sophisticated piece of statistical analysis would need to be carried out to 
make the assertion he has made. 
  
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data for COVID deaths by occupation was not broken 
down by region and the ONS website makes it clear that comparisons should not be made using 
that data and data published elsewhere. 
  
Nevertheless, we know from the research TfL commissioned from University College London’s 
(UCL) Institute of Health Equity that certainly in the first phase of the pandemic, London bus 
drivers were worse affected than bus drivers in other parts of the country.  There are a number 
of reasons for this, including the fact that the first wave of COVID hit London very hard, 
particularly as it was before the national lockdown, the high number of bus drivers in London 
who are older, issues around comorbidity and the high proportion of drivers in London who are 
BAME. 
  
We have made huge efforts over the last year to protect staff and customers on TfL’s services.  
In fact, many bus operators around the country have emulated the work done in London.  
Stringent safety measures have been introduced, including cleaning with long-lasting antiviral 
cleaning fluid and limits on passenger numbers to allow for social distancing.  Staff facilities 
have been reconfigured to enable better social distancing and temporary portacabin facilities 
have been constructed to enable staff to spread out.  Bus ventilation systems have been 
improved and drivers’ cabs have been fully sealed up to reduce the risk of transmission 
following UCL’s work on cab design and air flow.  For a period last year, passengers were able 
to embark and disembark only from the rear doors to keep commuters away from drivers. 
  
Since August 2020 Imperial College London has been testing for COVID on the TfL network, 
taking samples from the air and frequently touched services in stations, trains and buses.  All 
results to date have been negative.  No trace of COVID-19 has been found. 
  
I would be more than happy to ask for TfL to sit down with Assembly Member Prince to go 
through the data we have available and to discuss with him the actions taken and continuing to 
be taken to protect staff and customers. 
  
Keith Prince AM:  I am very grateful for that offer, Mr Mayor, and I will happily take you up 
on that.  I would also like to bring some experts with me as wel , if that is at all possible.  That is 
very generous of you, I must say. 
  
Do you feel, though, in retrospect that there may have been done decisions that you could or 
should have taken and maybe there should have been some questions that you asked? 
  
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I reflect on that regularly, Keith, as you will appreciate, 
because we are talking about people here.  That is one of the reasons why we got world experts 
with UCL’s Institute of Health Equity to look into that.  I was not happy with just TfL marking 
our own homework.  We got UCL in with very wide terms of reference.  The part 2 report is 
going to come out soon and maybe that will tell us things that we should have done at the time 
that we did not do. 
  

TfL Confidential 
 
One thing that gives me comfort is that nobody else among the bus operators was doing more 
than us at the time and in fact others have copied what we have done.  We continue to evolve 
but, if there are things we could have done differently, we have to learn.  So far, nothing has 
been brought to light, but we have to be open-minded about it and not closed-minded. 
  
Keith Prince AM:  Mr Mayor, perhaps I could bring some things to light, maybe around the 
mess offices or the canteens where the drivers were meeting and also ferry cars.  It is 
interesting.  Why was UCL not asked to look at the COVID risks in relation to clusters such as 
canteens and also conditions for ferry drivers?  Why was that not included in the UCL research, 
Mr Mayor? 
  
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  You will find that the main concern that UCL looked into 
was the issue of bus drivers because of the number of bus workers who lost their lives.  They 
are not employed by TfL - you know this - but are employed by bus operators.  We were stil  
concerned by the large numbers and that was the focus. 
  
Again, there is nothing stopping TfL and we are doing further work in relation to other 
transport workers, not just buses, not just ferries, but trams, the Overground and the Tube as 
well ‑‑ 
  
Keith Prince AM:  Sorry, Mr Mayor.  Sorry to interrupt you.  When I talk about ferry drivers, I 
do not mean the people who are catching ferries.  I mean the people who drive cars full of bus 
drivers to and from where they are meeting for the change of driver.  I do apologise for not 
making that clear. 
  
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I beg your pardon. 
  
Keith Prince AM:  When I am talking about ferry drivers, I am talking about drivers who are 
tasked to take bus drivers to where they meet for their bus changeovers.  Apologies for not 
making that clear. 
  
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  No, it is my fault.  Government guidance, as you wil  
appreciate, Assembly Member Prince, was changing along the way, not just from the 
Government but from Public Health England.  At all times, TfL was slightly ahead of 
Government guidance when we were able to be so, but we had to follow Government guidance.  
As soon as Government guidance changed in relation to, for example, as you will be aware, the 
use of face masks and face coverings in vehicles, it was a change made in relation to bus 
operators as wel . 
  
Keith Prince AM:  Mr Mayor, UCL did not look at that aspect.  That is a bit of a failing, to be 
blunt. 
  
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I am not sure that is right, though, because -- 
  
Keith Prince AM:  Perhaps we could talk about this in our meeting -- 
  

TfL Confidential 
 
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Phase 2 of the UCL report is going to look at other things.  
They include things outside of the bus service.  If there is an issue in relation to the ferrying of 
bus workers, it will be covered by phase 2 from UCL because it is looking at other issues. 
  
Keith Prince AM:  OK.  If I can be really cheeky, as you are in the mind to have a meeting, the 
Association of Relocation Professionals estimates that over 20,000 high-value employees of 
professionals move into the London economy every year.  Will you agree to a short meeting 
with the relocation industry representatives to discuss ways in which we can make London a go-
to destination, bearing in mind what you were saying earlier, Mr Mayor? 
  
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Should I be re-elected, I would be more than happy to, 
personally.  If it is the case you want a meeting sooner rather than later, I am happy for TfL to 
meet with them.  Keith, purdah starts from Monday [22 March 2021] and so it is difficult.  If it 
is possible and if you want me, I can do it after 6 May [2021] should I be re-elected.  If you 
want it sooner, it will be with officials rather than me, if that is OK. 
  
Keith Prince AM:  OK.  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  Thank you. 
 
 
2021/0542 March 18, 2021  
 
TfL’s ‘scaling back’ on Physical Site Visits and Bus Driver Covid-19 Deaths 
 
Do you accept that TfL’s decision to ‘scale back on physical site visits at the height of the 
lockdown’ might contribute to why ONS Data shows that the death rate of London Bus Drivers 
is twice that of UK Bus Drivers? 
-  I do not accept that the reduction in the number of physical visits by TfL staff would 
have contributed to an increase in the number of bus driver deaths 
-  The first phase of the research undertaken by University College London was clear that 
the majority of bus driver deaths resulted from infection before the first lockdown 
began, when the prevalence of the virus in London was much higher than the rest of 
the country. The study also confirmed that lockdown was the most effective measure 
for reducing mortality among bus driver. 
-  As described in my answer to MQ 2020/3659, Transport for London scaled-back on 
physical visits at the height of lockdown in accordance with the prevailing Government 
advice. At a fundamental level, it stands to reason that minimising the number of 
people on any particular site, at any particular time, was and is both a significant 
mitigation, and a pragmatic one. 
-  The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data for COVID deaths by occupation was not 
broken down by region and, as the ONS website makes clear, comparisons should not 
be made using their data with data published elsewhere. Nevertheless, in the first phase 
of the pandemic, London bus drivers were worse affected than those in other areas. This 
is for a number of reasons, including the extent to which the first wave of COVID hit 
London very hard, the high numbers of older bus drivers and the high proportion of 
drivers from a black and ethnic minority background in London. 
 

TfL Confidential 
 
2021/0528 February 25, 2021 
Covid-19 Deaths and Bus Depots 
In your partial responses to Questions 2021/0127 and 2020/2533, you state that “TfL is 
unable to provide a line –by-line account of each death in service due to data protection and 
out of respect for the privacy of the families of the deceased” but that is not the information I 
requested. I have requested that you provide bus driver deaths from Covid-19 by “place of 
work” which includes both the Bus Operator and the Bus Operator’s Depot associated with the 
victims. Given that the Bus Safety Data TfL publishes every quarter shows the month, location, 
Bus Route Number, the garage the bus operated from and sex, age and severity of injury details 
for the thousands of victims killed or injured in Bus Safety Incidents involving TfL buses since 
January 2014, do you accept that TfL must be in a position to provide the information I’ve 
asked for about the deaths of bus drivers from Covid-19 without violating any data protection 
provisions or the privacy of the families of the deceased and will you instruct it to do so? 
-  Please see my response to Mayor’s Question 2021/0527 for a summary of bus driver 
deaths broken down by operator. As stated in that response, Transport for London is 
unable to provide a line by line account of each death in service from illness rather than 
road safety due to data protection and out of respect for the privacy of the families of 
the deceased. 
 
2021/0527 February 25, 2021 
 
Transport Workers and Covid 19 
 
 
Your partial response to Question 2021/0127 contained even less information than your 
response to 2020/2533. Please provide me with a breakdown of Bus Driver deaths from Covid-
19 by Bus Operator and explain why this requested information was not included in your latest 
response. 
 
-  Tragically, we have lost a total of 51 bus drivers to coronavirus-related il ness as of 9 
March. Transport for London is unable to provide a line by line account of each death 
due to data protection and out of respect to the privacy of the affected families. A 
summary of the information requested has been provided in the table below.  
-  It is important to note that the operators vary in size and in the proportion of routes 
that they operate on TfL’s network. 
  
Operator 
Total Bus Driver Deaths (9 March 2021) 
Abellio 

Arriva 

Go-Ahead 


TfL Confidential 
 
HCT 

Metroline 
15 
RATP 

Stagecoach 

Tower Transit 

Total 
51 
  
 
 
2021/0551 25 February 2021 
 
Bus Operator Ferry Driving and Covid-19 Risk 
 
Given the concentration of Covid-19 deaths among Metroline and Tower Transit Bus Drivers, 
has TfL considered the possibility of a “Super-Spreader” event might have originated with ferry 
drivers working for those companies’ Bus Garages? 
 
-  Transport for London (TfL) and the bus operators have consistently relied on the health 
information available to inform the safeguards put in place to minimise risks linked to 
COVID-19. The University College London report on bus driver fatalities considered the 
range of cleaning and safety measures put in place by the bus companies. It concluded 
that it was the introduction of lockdown that had the most significant impact on 
reducing infection rates. This research, along with Public Health England advice, has 
been informing the bus services operations. The same guidance is being applied by bus 
operators on ferry vehicles to help minimise the risk of transmission events. 
-  Cleaning regimes of ferry vehicles have been enhanced, and steps have been taken to 
reduce their capacities and ensure staff sit apart. Wherever a positive coronavirus test 
result is identified, contact tracing is undertaken to identify those who may have been 
in close contact with the individual. The same process would be applied if a ferry vehicle 
driver tested positive. 
 
2020/2528 July 16, 2020 
 
Deaths of Agency Bus Drivers from Covid-19 

 
Did TfL include Agency Bus Drivers in its announcement of 29 Bus Driver Fatalities? If so, of 
that total, how many were Agency Bus Drivers? 

TfL Confidential 
 
-  Transport for London did include Agency Bus Driver in its announcement. Of the 29 bus 
driver fatalities, two were Agency bus drivers. 
 
 
2020/1722 June 18, 2020 
Clusters of Covid-19 Deaths at Bus Companies 
 
Analysis of data culled from social media about the 29 Bus Drivers who’ve died from Covid-19 
shows that over 50% of the deaths took place among 2 operators that, combined, own and 
operate less than 25% of London’s Buses under contract to TfL. Please describe what actions 
TfL is taking at these two operators to understand why they account for such a 
disproportionate number of Covid-19 Deaths? 
 
 
-  Losing so many London bus workers is a devastating outcome of this pandemic and is 
why I wanted research conducted to understand the reasons why this happened. TfL 
commissioned University College London’s Institute of Health Equity to examine the 
factors behind infections and deaths from coronavirus among bus workers so that we 
have a robust basis from which to learn from this tragedy. The first stage of the research 
will be shared with stakeholders later this month, prior to being published, and the 
second stage is expected to be ready by the end of this year. According to the initial 
data available, operators Go Ahead and Metroline jointly account for 53 per cent of 
coronavirus related driver deaths and for around 42 per cent of the London bus 
network.  
-  London was quick to respond to medical advice and adapt as guidance was updated, 
introducing a raft of safeguards like reinforcing the driver’s protective shield, enhancing 
cleaning with anti-viral agents, switching temporarily from front to middle-door 
boarding and furloughing the most at-risk drivers. The study will examine the measures 
that TfL and its operators took and further improvements that might assist us now. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



TfL Confidential 
 
Appendix 2 – Keith Prince Assembly Member (AM) 
 

Conservative, Havering & Redbridge 
 
 
 
Keith Prince has represented Havering and Redbridge on the London Assembly since May 2016. 
He was re-elected in May 2021. 
  
On the Assembly, Keith has focused on scrutinising the Mayor of London’s policing and transport 
policies. He has campaigned for a new flyover at Gallows Corner, policies to make London safe 
for motorcyclists, and better protection for transport workers during the pandemic. Locally, he 
works closely with charities to tackle antisocial behaviour, knife crime and homelessness across 
Havering and Redbridge. 
  
Born and raised in Havering, Keith later moved to Redbridge to raise his own family. He has served 
as a councillor in both Havering (1990 to 1995) and Redbridge (2003 to 2018). He led Redbridge 
Council between May 2009 and June 2014. 
  
Prior to the Assembly, Keith worked as a marketing manager for LBC Radio. He later worked as a 
non-executive adviser to Stephen Greenhalgh, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, during 
Boris Johnson’s mayoralty. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


TfL Confidential 
 
Appendix 3: 
 Mayoral Correspondence   
 
From: 
 
Sent: Friday, October 23, 2020 8:18:14 AM 
To: xxxxx@xxxxxx.xxx.xx <xxxxx@xxxxxx.xxx.xx> 
Subject: London bus Network  
  
Good Morning Mr Mayor,  
 
I am a London Bus driver for 
  
 
I have worked through this Pandemic from our 
London Garage alongside Colleagues who 
have contracted Covid-19 and 2 sadly losing the battle.  
 
We discuss regularly our day at work and it's become obvious to us that a majority of passengers 
do not follow the face covering instruction.  
 
What is more concerning that not one of our 
 drivers have had a TFL official or British 
transport police on their bus issuing Non-Compliance fines.  
 
So I put it to you Mr Mayor that your failure to police the transport network is spreading this Virus 
drastically and this must be looked in to immediately.  
 
A response to our concerns would be greatly appreciated.  
 
  
 
 





TfL Confidential 
 
cc: Sadiq Khan - Mayor of London, John Murphy - Unite the Union, Keith Prince AM,  
 - #StopKil ingBusDrivers 
 
12 March 2021 
Dear Deputy Mayor Alexander,  
 RE: More Questions about TfL’s Covid-19 Risk Reduction Actions for London Bus Drivers 
 
Thank you for your letter of 5 January 2021 (below) in response to my 23 October 2020 
communication to Mayor Sadiq Khan (also below).  Please accept my apologies for my delayed 
response, but on 6 January 2021 I was diagnosed with Covid-19 and, thanks to the NHS, I am now 
well enough to work and also to respond to you.  As you know from TfL's own data, I was just one 
of over two thousand TfL Bus Drivers who fell il  and tested positive with Covid-19 in the four month 
period between October 2020 and 22 January 2021.  
 
To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with your response to my question about TfL’s enforcement 
of mask-wearing on Buses because you cited aggregate statistics from all modes of public 
transport, i.e., tube, overground, dial-a-ride, tram and buses.  Do you have any data specifically 
for Buses?  If so, kindly provide this information to me. 
 
And while I have your attention, perhaps you’l  be kind enough to answer these questions 
Assembly Member Keith Prince asked the Mayor on my behalf in February? 
1. Fitness and Competence of Unite the Union Safety Representatives implementing and 
monitoring Covid-19 Risk Reduction Actions during the Pandemic 
 
In your responses to Questions 2020/3659, 2020/2541, 2020/2119 and 2020/1623 you have 
repeatedly underscored the important role of Unite the Union representatives ‘stood down from 
their normal duties’ by Bus Operators to ensure that Covid-19 Risk Reduction actions were being 
carried out and monitored in Bus Depots and on Buses. Given that ONS Data shows that the death 
rate from Covid-19 among TfL Bus Drivers is over twice that of UK Bus Drivers, what evidence 
does TfL have that (a) these Unite representatives were trained and competent to carry out the 
safety critical tasks they were ‘stood down’ for and/or (b) these Union representatives carried out 
these tasks at all? 
 
2. Bus Operator Ferry Driving and Covid-19 Risk 
 
From bus drivers, I’ve learned that bus garages directly employ ferry drivers who are responsible 
for transporting starting bus drivers in a car or a minibus from the bus garage to a change-over 
point and who also sometime return with drivers who are finishing. Phase 1 of the UCL Initial 
Assessment of London Bus Driver Mortality from Covid-19 published in August 2020 stipulated 
that “TfL’s occupational risk assessment tool should be used by London bus companies to identify 
those most vulnerable—with the oversight of TfL—to reduce the risk of employee’s exposure to 
and acquisition of Covid-19’. Was the ferry driving of bus drivers from depots to change-over points 
(and vice versa) ever covered by TfL’s or Bus Operators’ Covid-19 Risk Assessments? If so, please 
provide me with copies of each of these Risk Assessments for each Garage where they were 
carried out. 
 
3. TfL’s ‘scaling back’ on Physical Site Visits and Bus Driver Covid-19 Deaths 
 
Following up your response to Question 2020/3659, do you accept that TfL’s decision to ‘scale 
back on physical site visits at the height of the lockdown’ might contribute to why ONS Data shows 
that the death rate of London Bus Drivers is twice that of UK Bus Drivers? 
 
For my ongoing research, I wil  be grateful if you or the Mayor (copied, for information) could 
respond as soon as possible. 
 





So, in May last year, we commissioned University College London, the Institute of Health Equity, to study 
the pattern of infection and deaths from COVID-19 in the London bus worker population. And this was 
obviously triggered by the very sad and tragic numbers of deaths, which we were finding amongst London 
bus drivers. And the study examined the deaths of 27 drivers who died between March and May 2020. And 
the first phase was a short-term review, really looking at the actions and measures implemented and to see 
if there was anything that needed to be amended or further improved. That was published in July. And then 
phase two was more in depth. And all London bus drivers were given the opportunity to complete a 
questionnaire to gather information about them, their demographics, where they live, and their views on the 
actions that had been taken. And that was published in March 2021. Next slide. So there were essentially 
five recommendations made by the UCL study. So really making sure that if there was a second spike, we 
were confident that actions were in place that were affected, were going to be effective consideration of 
people who were at more high risk and ensuring that actions were in place to support them, and also 
particularly for ethnic minority staff to ensure that they were able felt empowered to raise concerns that 
they might have. The study recommended that the risk assessment tool or one equivalent to it, which we 
were using in TfL, should be used to identify those workers that are more vulnerable if they were to get 
COVID. And also looking at the general health of bus drivers, as we know that underlying health conditions 
is a contributory factor, and looking at improved engagement with health promotion. So, I'll hand over to 
Tom, he's going to talk about how TfL and the bus operators have responded to those recommendations.  
 
TC 
So I think just a bit of context at the start of the pandemic. It was it was a very steep learning curve for at all 
at that point in time. And it's continued to be over the last year or so since then. And there clearly wasn’t a 
guide as to what we need to do. But we started off with discussions with the operators, even before we got 
to the point of the of the of the most serious outbreaks, it's kind of a pre-discussion around what we might 
do, should it become as bad as it was happening in China. And that continued throughout the period of 
regular discussions with the operators on sometimes daily calls, and with the trades union representatives 
across London as well as things came to light. And the same was true for while this report was going on. 
So while the report was being written prior to July, we already got some information from UCL, we got more 
information from more generally from government and from around the world. And we started to implement 
changes as well. So Euan if you pop on to the next slide, I'll just again pick out a couple of the elements 
here. So as soon as the 25th of March, we were writing to operators setting out the first of the changes that 
we implemented, in this case here was making sure that all drivers receive sick pay from day one. And that 
was around mitigation where in some cases, many cases in fact, bus drivers don't get sick pay on their first 
day away from work, they get it on day two, three or four or sometimes it's a bit longer and to get away 
from the fear that drivers might come into work for fear of losing money, we moved and we came in to 
support the operators in supporting sick pay from day one. And that was just the first of many things that 
we put in place as time progressed over that period of time. And that addresses one of the 
recommendations from UCL. And then we obviously, as the advice changed and develops, we made sure 
we had available things like hand sanitizer, that was difficult started off with but we got hold of that after a 
week or two. And that became available. When advice changed around wearing face coverings, when not 
in the cab, we moved to doing that as well. We worked on the cabs themselves, based on the work that the 
other part of UCL did the team led by Nick Tyler, the Centre for transport studies, and the Department for 
civil environmental engineering, they helped us work out how air could move around on the bus. And we 
improved the cab design and ventilation systems. And then to particular address the point about the most 
vulnerable staff being really clear about who they were, by the time we got to July, we were I think far 
better informed about who the highest risk people were where COVID was most dangerous to individuals, 
not just in necessarily catching it, but the level of illness they would have and the implications of that. And 
by using that age risk assessment across London, or an equivalent, which at least one company had a 
group standard that was very similar to ours. And so they use that, that enables the operators to work out 
who was at greatest risk and should stay away from the workplace, and who in fact, wasn't at such great 
risk, and could safely to come back to work as well. And the combination of those was important as well. 
And as we continue to change, and we work through the rest of 2020. As the risk profile changed, we 
adapted what we were doing up and down based on the level of risk. So that's the what how we responded 
to stage one from July onwards. And then I think Sam we're going back to what phase 2 look like. We 
move on Euan. 
 
SP 
So, we know following the UCL study that London bus drivers did have a statistically significant excess in 
mortality in the first wave of the epidemic. And the high rates of mortality were largely as a result of 
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infections acquired before locked down. So, most of the drivers who sadly died went off, you know, around 
the lockdown periods, so most of them probably contracted COVID, before we went into lockdown. And 
that was actually one of the conclusions of the UCL study that had we gone into lockdown sooner, there 
would have been fewer deaths. And the findings for the London bus drivers is consistent with recent 
national analysis. So mortality among many key workers was higher in cases that were affected before 
lockdown. And secondly, that mortality in BAME groups was similarly high in those early cases, even after 
accounting for a range of factors which are known to contribute to the higher mortality amongst those 
ethnic minority communities which include living in more deprived environments, etc. So next slide, please 
Euan. As I said, the UCL study did identify a statistically significant excess in mortality, and I'll just quickly 
explain the graph to you. So whilst it showed that London bus drivers were three times more likely to die 
from COVID, during that first phase than the greater England population, we have to bear in mind that that 
during that first phase, London was hit really first and hardest by the pandemic. So more people were dying 
in London anyway than across the rest of the country. So UCL were able to compare London's death rates 
to the rest of England. And as you can see, death rates generally in London, were higher than the rest of 
England, whereas in the east and southeast death rates were lower than the rest of England. So when they 
consider the mortality ratios for drivers in London, compared to London data, the ratio did decrease, but 
they were still identified as being two times more likely to die taking into account a number of risk factors 
such as ethnicity, age, gender, and where they live. Next slide. When compared to other occupations, bus 
and coach drivers had the 16th highest male mortality, during March to May 2020. But in second way 
between March and December, that had gone down to 25th. So overall, the latest ONS data, which was 
published in January, showed that in that period of March to December, 83 male bus and coach drivers 
died, which gave a rate of 70.3 deaths per 100,000 males. Now, during that same time period, 34 London 
bus drivers sadly died. But eight of them were over the age of 64. And as we all know, now, age is the 
biggest risk factor for death in COVID. So, 26 of those deaths are directly comparable to the ONS data, 
because that was only looking at people between the ages of 20 and 64. I think we go to the next slide, 
Euan, thank you. I was looking to see if there was anything more recent published by ONS with regards to 
occupation risk. There hasn't been as far as I can see anything since January. But the environmental 
monitoring group, who working on Transmission published something in February about risk by occupation, 
and they had some international comparators. So, the graph on the far right is showing for it in England, 
the high risk occupations. And what they were looking at was by proximity to other people, because that's 
now known to be one of the risk factors in an occupation is how many people do have to work around and 
with and that shows where the bus and coach drivers lie on that spectrum. But you know, it's across all 
countries; in Ontario 80 per cent of workplace associated outbreaks were associated with three main 
industries sectors: taxi drivers, and bus and tram drivers were found to have higher rates of infection. And 
in Swedish study, that was even when other factors were accounted for. Thanks Euan. 
 
SP 
The UCL study, in the questionnaire, it looked at, asked people where they lived, and by postcode were 
able to place them into what they call deciles of deprivation. So, number one is the most deprived areas 
and number 10 is the least deprived areas, and of the drivers who participated in study, and we do believe 
that they're representative of drivers overall, based on the findings of the study, they were more likely to 
live in the relatively deprived deciles of two to four and less like, but less likely to live in the most deprived 
decile, or the more affluent deciles. And there was also a difference between gender and ethnicity. So 
female drivers were more likely to live in more deprived areas, white drivers were less likely to live in the 
three most deprived areas than their colleagues. Next slide, please Euan. And there was also, probably not 
unsurprisingly, an increased death rate for those drivers who lived in areas that had the higher levels of 
COVID at that time. So, you can see that where there was over on higher level of local authority mortality, 
there was a higher level of bus driver death. But the analysis showed that this didn't entirely account for 
that excess mortality. Next slide, please. And although in first phase, they did think that bus drivers may 
have had higher levels of pre-existing conditions. Actually, what the second phase showed was that bus 
drivers generally have the same kind of levels of pre-existing conditions like diabetes and hypertension, as 
the general population, but it did seem to show that they perhaps getting some of these problems at an 
earlier age. So, you know, younger bus drivers were more obese than in the general population. And then 
in the older age group, there were more people with high blood pressure. And although there wasn't a 
comparative group, there did seem to be an increase in heart problems also in this older age group. Next 
slide, please. Drivers were also asked whether they agreed with the safety measures that were put in place 
before lockdown and they did sort of express their frustration in those answers about external factors, such 
as passenger aggression and compliance with facemask wear and driving conditions. But overall, they, you 
know, they've generally, I think, agreed with the measures that have been introduced, apart from the issue 
3

of hand sanitizers, which as Tom said, was a bit of an issue initially, because it was difficult to obtain the 
hand sanitizers. Next slide, please. So, there were a number of recommendations. And there are quite a lot 
of those. So rather than me talking through all of those, because you can read them all afterwards, what I'll 
do is we'll skip on to, to the actual response that we've made to those recommendations, because that 
really covers them in any case. So I'll hand over to Tom now. Thank you. 
 
TC 
Thanks. So we've just divided them up here by some headings or localities, you'll see a number of these do 
sort of overlap with each other to an extent as well. So the first point is that all the measures from phase 
one are still in place in terms of the continued duration and remain so subject to review at some point in 
time, but that they are there at the moment. One of the points that was a stress factor with the original 
lockdown was the availability of driver welfare facilities. So it was the public facilities that were available, 
whether run by boroughs, or for example, supermarkets, with their canteens and shopping centres, closing 
very quickly, was a pressure so we'd already put in place a programme to extend with temporarily extra 
buildings, the facilities for drivers to take their breaks in with toilets available - more toilets available at the 
end of Route as well - to enable people to go to the loo and to wash hands as well. Really trying to get the 
message through to drivers consistently. We all know how easy it's been, we've seen it around in society, 
how people have become a little bit blasé at times around social distancing, and the need to constantly 
remind people of that in our own workplaces, perhaps in our own family situation. So making sure that 
people are aware of that and continuing to reinvigorate those messages and refresh them has been really 
important. And making sure there've been enough staff in the depots to ensure that that's happened. And 
one of the measures used there was for safety “direction”, the trade union to be stood down to help provide 
some peer to peer engagement as well as undertake some extra checks to support the employers. So a 
whole range of issues differed and varied over time as the messaging is changed, as this messaging has 
been refreshed. But that we believe is helped a lot with the levels of social distancing and to reduce the risk 
very substantially of catching COVID between teams in the depots. And then I'm going to hand over to 
Jane for the next couple, I think, on ill health prevention, because that was obviously the underlying health 
condition was one of the issues that was raised in the UCL report. So, Jane. 
 
JL 
Thanks, Tom. So obviously, as a result of that, and also a result of the work that you'll all be familiar with, 
that we've done previously with Loughborough around fatigue. And we know that driver health and 
wellbeing obviously has an impact there. So we've been looking at the operators about how we might 
improve driver health assessments. And so we want to be able to, in a voluntary manner, look at whether 
they've got any of the kind of precursors to those pre-existing health conditions. And we know that drivers 
often might not know that they have these indicators anyway. So we want to work with the operators to 
make sure that we can get those identified earlier and then put in interventions if needed. The operators do 
work in the space all the time, but on a more kind of individual level. And one of the things that my team 
does is bring all the operators together. And not just in health and wellbeing but in safety genuinely to 
actually share best practice so we can make the best use of the information we've got available. And 
examples of that are the health bus that you'll be familiar with, that unfortunately had to go on pause during 
COVID, but that was going around the operators to allow drivers to go in and have these health 
assessments. And we've got some operators looking at mental health interventions as well because we 
know that's as important in this space and making sure that we can see what works, what doesn't so we're 
making the best use of our combined resources. The next slide, please. Fatigue was also flagged in the 
recommendations of phase two, but this is something that we've already got a well-established programme 
on both by TfL and working with the operators as well. All the operators have fatigue risk management 
systems in place. And as part of that, we are looking at reviewing shift patterns and rosters, also in 
collaboration with out trade unions to see where improvements can be made. And this is not a quick win 
because it has to often be looked at on an individual basis, but we're looking at the tools we can use to do 
that. And to help the operators do that. We also launched our fatigue health and wellbeing Innovation Fund.
So you'll be familiar with this. This is actually the third Innovation Fund we've done in the safety team, we're 
actually we realised that we don't have all the answers, not by a longshot, at TfL. So, we want to go out to 
industry, see what has worked elsewhere, look at innovators who can come to us and say we've potentially 
got a product that can help. And the operators can then review the suppliers and decide to partner with one 
and then put in a bid for funding from TfL. And that's something that we'll be accepting applications very 
shortly. And we'll be able to make some announcements on who's won those bids towards the end the 
summer. And since September last year, we've also been rolling out our bus driver fatigue management 
awareness training. And this is for the bus operator managers and supervisors. As you can imagine, the 
4

original intention was to do this face to face, but because of COVID, we managed to switch that to online, 
which has been great. That means that we have been able to still press ahead with that. And it has kind of 
twofold really because it's about the management, supervising understanding the basics of fatigue and how 
it's caused. But actually also a lot of that training is about having open conversations with drivers. And this 
doesn't just relate to fatigue, this relates to health and wellbeing as well and understanding how to have 
those conversations and how to create that open culture, which underpins all of this work. And that training 
is actually due to finish in a couple of weeks’ time. So go ahead, Sam, for the next bit. 
 
SP 
Thanks. So yes, this pandemic has bought us many sort of strange curveballs. And now, you know, we're 
now just coming to grips with the long-term impacts of COVID. So called long COVID. And, you know, we 
are seeing numbers of people who are having ongoing symptoms. There are lots of the NHS government 
guidelines and long COVID clinics, you know, at TfL, we've got a support pathway of for rehabilitation for 
people who either aren't eligible for or can't get their rehabilitation through the NHS. So that will be a sort of 
multidisciplinary team approach. And we're going to pass on learning from that to the bus operators. And 
they're also looking at ways that they can continue to support their employees who are sadly experiencing 
ongoing symptoms.  
 
TC 
So as Sam mentioned earlier on, the survey of the bus drivers highlighted quite a lot of concern about 
levels of aggression and compliance of wearing face coverings. Although once we've done the work on the 
cabs, the direct impact of the face coverings perhaps was less critical to drivers, it was clearly important 
that we had good compliance with wearing face coverings to provide customer reassurance and combined 
with that dealing with antisocial behaviour and so on, crime on the bus network, which was diminished but 
didn't get away during the pandemic as well. So we had 500 of our own enforcement officers and around 
two and a half thousand police community support officers on the network out ensuring that compliance 
was taking place and supporting customers and drivers to the extent that we could be that those number of 
people. We developed a system to analyse the data that came through from bus drivers who were able to 
press buttons on their control unit in the cab to highlight where buses were particularly busy or where there 
were issues of social distancing onboard vehicles, which helped inform where we were going to target 
those resources much quicker than we would have done normally. And we issued clear communication to 
customers, as you'll have seen, around compliance and social distancing. It changed over time as well as 
the government advice changed, the graphics changed to refresh and make it easier as the work did inside 
the depots before as well. So a whole series of measures there and I think overall now the levels of 
compliance are much, much better than they were before. Still not perfect, but I think on most buses as 
almost public transport levels of compliance we can see travelling around now generally are much better 
than they were than certainly earlier on, it continues to be an important factor. There was a question raised 
around the consistency of the recording of employees ethnicity. And in some cases, it wasn't recorded at 
all for an employee. In other cases, that was using data that wasn't comparable between operators to try 
and get the wider picture together. So we've agreed to use the latest version of the ONS categorizations for 
the data, they only updated those categories in the last year or two as well. But it was a good opportunity 
for us to then ask all operators to do that. And they're going through that process at the moment to bring 
that data into line, which will give us a better picture of the makeup and of the workforce across London as 
well. And the final point was around air quality. And as I hope everyone knows, clearly the mayor has, and 
the previous mayor in fact, has made air quality very much part of their agenda in London, we know it's 
been a really big issue, a whole series of interventions led very much by the bus fleet and now widening 
out to many more vehicles with the combination of low emission bus zones, the ultra low emission zone, 
extension of the ultimate low emission zone to north and south circular, and so on, the movement of our 
feet towards zero emission over the next few years, as well. So air quality is a lot better than it was, in the 
monitoring and the corridors that we run buses along, places like Putney and Brixton, showed a major 
improvement with air quality as a result of our interventions over the last two or three years in that area. 
And we expect that to continue to get better again, as we go forward in the future, as well. So, that's a bit of 
a whistle stop summary, there is more that we've done than that, of course, but just to try a bit of flavour, 
Keith to, to what we've what we've done and to kind of enable perhaps some discussion, question answers, 
on both the research, the work and the response to it.  
 
KP 
Yeah, no, thank you. That's very helpful, actually, really grateful. Probably 
 and 
 are better 
qualified to, to ask questions on that. 
 do you want to ask any questions at this point? 
5

 
 
Going back to the point of policing of mask wearing on buses in London, I was in service for pretty much 
the whole of last year and into this year now. And I had nobody get on my bus and check face coverings, 
and I come from the garage that's got 11-12 routes, we communicate on a daily basis. We've all come up 
with the same answer. We had no policing on our on our buses whatsoever. And that was a big concern to 
us. And that was what was putting us under a lot of strain. Every single day, I mean, to challenge 
customers to put their masks on. When they sit down and take their masks off; they still do it now. And 
we've had no policing whatsoever. And I could get signatures from all drivers in my garage to confirm that 
same story. You know, we just wasn't getting the support that we needed on the buses. 
 
LM 
Thanks, 
 for raising that. I mean, Tom might want to comment in terms of how we target resources. It 
is, it is a challenge, spreading the resources across the whole of London, there have been literally well 
over, you know, 10s and 10s and 10s of 1000s of apprehensions between enforcement officers and 
passengers. And there have been 1000s of fines issued and people asked not to travel if they were 
refusing to wear a face covering. But I don't think your experience, I mean, I can understand your 
experience, because you could well be in that situation where the enforcement officers just haven't gone to 
your area. But one of the things, and we still continue to want to know this information. So the point is, this 
is not like all past, we want to know where you're having problems. So, Tom, if you just want to sort of 
explain how we like to receive that information, and then we can help get more action targeted. 
 
TC 
I think it also just clarify, there are two types of campaign we've been doing around this. So the first one 
was actually off-bus on the pavement before people got on the bus, which was a lot safer for our people to 
do. And also, we were able to therefore, we believe, address a lot more people in doing it that way. So part 
of the operation wasn't on bus. It was deliberately at busy bus stops at bus stations and locations where 
there was a visible presence reminding people to wear their face covering before they got on the bus to 
save putting more people on the bus and delaying the bus on its journey. Then there was obviously, there 
are people on buses, your rights 
 and Lilli, in terms of those people there, so the sort of 3000-ish 
people in total, 500 of ours and two and a half thousand from the combination of the Metropolitan Police 
and the British Transport Police out across the network. With 9000 buses out there 25,000 bus drivers, I'm 
sure there are places in London where they've not got to. And they're also drivers and routes that perhaps 
haven't seen them yet. The focus was based initially on actual reports, verbally, to garages as to where the 
biggest issues were. And they typically were a lot around East London in London, sort of around the 
Canning Town area, sort of Southeast area. So we spent time there initially, and then we have spread out 
and the SMS message on the buses, now 
 which I hope you've used and your colleagues have 
used, I can to look into what specifically, where we are, what has happened in your area, after the meeting, 
if you'd like, and give a bit of direct feedback on that. But it has been very much led by that level of button 
push. And I know, I've seen the reports from that, that that has led to the tasking and go to places that we 
perhaps wouldn't have thought about. It's been high issue areas that actually that data is fed through. So 
I'm happy to take 
 your garage and routes and feed back to you where that is, we're now able to 
provide that I think, we're just changing the software as well, so we should be able to buy that data at 
garage level and possibly even root level, more clearly. 
 
 
I guess my questions are more systemic. I sit on some very large company boards outside the country. 
And I remember our board meetings in February of 2020, one was in Indonesia, the other in Ukraine. And 
the entire board was concerned meetings entirely about what are we going to do about COVID. We had 
huge issues with industrial operations and what we're going to do. At the time, we came up with a series of 
actions, one, which was especially on contractors, that was a big issue. It's about contractors working on 
site, how we can protect. And I look at the, every board meeting since, we have every month since, these 
two companies, and every board meeting was concerned with what was the COVID rate, what was the 
death rate? What were we doing? And at the same time, I contrast that with what was going on in London 
with the bus fleet. And the numbers. This is in Indonesia and Ukraine, they are not front end world 
developed countries, they were way ahead of the game. Now I admit that maybe the data is not as good. 
But we're talking about 10s across the industrial population, over 40,000 in one company, and over 50,000 
in another. So, and this is in Indonesian and Ukraine. I just, I contrast that with just reading the board 
minutes from February 20, March 20, and I look at this institutionally, TfL seemed less engaged in the issue 
6

than the industrial companies that I sit on the board of and that was that was surprising to me. And 
disappointing. It was surprising to me to know that TfL only got bus level infection data from October 2020. 
That was based on an FOI responses that 
 had asked. And again, I was very surprised that that's the 
kind of granulator that I would thought that TfL would be focused on and to wait until October to get this 
data. I'm just curious what institutionally prevented TfL from getting that data from day one, garage level 
infection data across borders. 
 
LM 
Well, I'll probably pick this up, 
. And I've obviously seen that FOI response. I understand your 
perceptions from your own board experience on two companies, I can reassure you, I am seeking to 
reassure you, obviously, that there was a an extremely strong focus of executive level, focus on this from 
very early on in the pandemic. But clearly, you know, there are a number of countries around the world 
which we have learned from particularly, in the Far East, actually, that have had experience of previous 
pandemics and did a great, great job in handling the pandemic. And we have absolutely as part of our daily 
and weekly management calls used that international experience. So it's good to hear that those countries 
have handled it really well. If they've got things that you think we need to be doing. I want to hear it 
because we aren’t proud at all, we always want to learn about what other countries are doing. Specifically 
with respect to that FOI, you have had that answer. I think, and I don't want to cut across what the answer 
said, but I do remember that you know you have to Understand that we're working within the context of 
what the national government provides. Government stopped testing for COVID in March, back to start in 
those who were in hospital, so it was actually extremely difficult to get levels of infection, right? Because 
they weren't doing population level testing, we as a company, were absolutely at the forefront of working 
with DHSC, to pilot testing. So we introduced probably the first employee-led testing for employees in in 
August, undertaking a number of pilots, and we pushed it out to a range of our contractors as well. And 
we've, 
 
 
when did you do this? I tried to put the date so I understand. 
 
LM 
Well, you have to understand it was it was a pilot, so it wasn't, you know, it wasn't across all parts of TfL. 
But the government weren't doing testing, not a mass scale, so you can't, it was very hard to get company-
wide levels of testing. As soon as there were tests available, what I was giving an example of, is we work 
very closely with DHSC actually to pilot different approaches to getting employee testing. Now, obviously, 
there is widespread availability of testing, and that does allow much greater granular detail to be available. 
But Tom, you were probably involved in sending that response to 
, is there anything else you wanted 
to say on it? Sorry, I was going to bring in Tom Cunnington. 
 
TC 
I think that there are two things that came together at about the time in October, it was the availability of 
that testing more far more widely. Up until that point testing was very difficult, we could assess how many 
people were off work with COVID-like symptoms. And we knew how many people were genuinely ill with 
the more serious symptoms. And obviously those that went to hospital got tested. And so there was some 
data on that. But in terms of the widespread testing, availability in London, it wasn't really available until the 
end of September, early October. And it was about that time that generally in London, the levels of infection
started to pick up again. And it was it that those two factors together led us to believe that it was the time 
then to start recording the data, because we had data to record, around the number of positive tests, was 
very thin, or probably not really there at all, to get a general picture. So, it was a factor of the circumstances 
at that point in time, 
 late September, very early October, that led us to believe that there was a 
sufficient data set out there to start collecting. And from then on, that data has been collected. 
 
LM 
One other point it's just worth noting time, and you'll probably find it an interesting part of the report, is in 
the UCL work. They also did ask bus drivers qualitatively whether they thought they'd experienced COVID 
symptoms. So not necessarily justified by having a test, but whether from the well-known symptoms that 
we associate with COVID, whether they thought they'd had it. So there was also, we've been able to look at 
that information and also some of the implications that's fed into to the conclusions of that work. So I think 
there's obviously some issues around that. I don't know if there was anything else you wanted to raise 
beyond that.  
7

 
 
I think the question I have is, again, do you think that withdrawal of TfL staff from inspecting depots might 
have affected TfL’s ability to get information as to what was going on? 
 
LM 
But
 we've also answered that at length in a number of MQs, as has the mayor. 
 
 
No satisfactorily, according to my judgement, so I was wondering, now that I get to ask you directly, 
because you didn't answer the FOI satisfactorily as well. I appreciate your explanation as to why you took 
until October that I have learned now, but can I just get some more detail as to TfL made a decision to 
withdraw its staff from depots? 
 
LM 
No, there's nothing beyond what it says in the MQ because it's the truth, which is, we followed government 
advice, which is that staff should not be making unnecessary journeys and should be working from home 
as far as possible. We maintained all the other measures which Tom has put in place, those daily calls, the 
intense working with the operators around safety. So, absolutely no, I don't change at all what we've set out 
on this or what the mayor said in those responses. 
 
 
My concern was, I was going back to July/August onwards, everyone seems to take their foot off the gas a 
little bit because the first way is to have easy off a little bit. But drivers were still going out of their garages 
in ferry cars. There was two or three drivers in the ferry car with the driver of the car. There was some with 
masks on but some couldn't wear masks because they had reasons why they couldn't. And there was, 
there's a possibility that some of those could have been asymptomatic. That was an obvious risk of spread 
that was going on every single day at bus garages that could have spread the disease to hundreds of 
drivers within weeks. And when we say that the garages were being monitored and feedback was coming 
back from garages, well I never saw nothing change, so I'm trained in health and safety and I saw that as a 
risk. And I raised that, but it continued in my garage, as I imagine it continued in every garage in my 
company. How can you put three drivers in a car and say they're socially distance and safe? You can't do it 
right. It’s still going on now. 
 
LM 
It's interesting point visit did was one of the things that was drawn out in the UCL research as well, and was 
touched on that report. Tom did you want to talk about that. 
 
TC 
Well, to the extent that ferry vehicles are a way in which drivers do move from the garage to the routes. 
And yes, that does mean that people are potentially closer to each other than during the day, than they 
might be other times. My understanding, but I’ve only been to some of the garages, I have visited some 
later on in the period as well, where I've seen ferry cars being used, is very high levels, in fact 100 per cent 
compliance levels of face coverings, being used in those ferry vehicles and people socially distancing to 
the greatest extent they can within them. Now if there are some specific examples about where that hasn't 
worked as well, then obviously that is something that needs to be looked at, but my although limited I have 
to say, experience of seeing ferry vehicles being driven around with drivers in them is that they appear to 
me to be as safe as they could be, given the context of being in a vehicle, not dissimilar to the way that 
perhaps people are travelling in PHV vehicles and Ubers and so on, with the passenger sitting directly 
opposite behind the driver. I know a number of operators for example have gone out and bought larger 
ferry vehicles, rather than having cars they bought large vans to ensure therefore that the same number of 
staff onboard the vehicle are far further apart than they would have been in a traditional perhaps you know 
small Micra or some other sort of type of car as well. So without getting into specifics of your case without 
knowing them, a number of mitigations have been put in place to try and manage that risk. And hopefully 
that has been sufficient to reduce that risk of transmission. 
 
 
So in December, seals were put in front of the passenger between the driver and that was an in December. 
Why did it take so long for something that needs to be implemented? If that was a measure that needs to 
8

be done, it should have been done in July, or in April/May. It took so long for everything to happen. And 
when you go back to sanitiser, we waited six weeks, seven weeks in my area to get sanitiser. And the 
seals in our cabs were still being put in place in September. The permanent sales, we had a temporary 
seal in place until September. So it, what the feedback you were getting from guarantees may not be quite 
what actually what's going on in my opinion, the things you may have heard, were not necessarily what 
was happening. And I saw it. That's why I was so active, asking questions, because I was seeing it first-
hand. 
 
LM 
I mean, I do think that is quite, it is very important and I don't want to discourage you at all from asking 
questions but also knowing that you can share that information upwards, because that, that is how we 
breed a safety culture so keep asking the questions, the feedbacks good, I'm not denying, I'm not 
disagreeing with you I'm, I'm listening to your feedback, but I'm agreeing with you. 
 
KP 
Sorry, can I just come in. So are we saying that we thought it was okay for three bus drivers to be in the 
same vehicle as the driver, are we saying that was acceptable practice or are we saying it shouldn't have 
been, I wasn't clear. 
 
LM 
Sorry I'm not close enough to the guidance on ferry vehicles to know that precise question.  
 
KP 
So could we find that out? 
 
TC 
Okay, so it's important to note here that the operators, ultimately, are responsible for the safety of their 
employees, they are the employers in the role here, that is not our saying it’s nothing to do with us at all. It 
is, it is a statement of fact that the operators are the employers, and it is their statutory obligation to carry 
out the risk assessments and to ensure that their employees are safe. And so therefore, whilst there was a 
lot of discussion and agreement sharing of best practice, in the end, that, that risk assessment and the 
operation of those ferry vehicles would be down to the individual operators to make, and to ensure that that 
was done in a safe way. 
 
KP 
So, did TfL not issue guidance on that? 
 
LM 
It's down to the operators to do the risk assessment, and also there's a range of vehicles so you can't say 
that there's a fixed figure because it depends on the size of the vehicle but, you know, so I think it's what's 
more important, what I take from this, is 
 who's had the direct experience of being in depots and on 
buses every day. And, you know, acknowledging the point about hand sanitisers is what is one that Tom 
raises it, it was a frustration where our procurement teams are working super hard as where the bus 
operators tried to secure this stuff. But there's no denying that it took time to get to some places, and, and 
that delay is not it's not, you know, it's a fact. It's really frustrating for all of us that are concerned. On the 
other issues, I think, you know, it's also worth pursuing this with different bus operators in terms of their risk 
assessments along the lines that Tom has pointed out. I'm quite conscious of time I didn't know if you 
wanted to cover any other items.  
 
 
Risk assessments is a good thing to talk about because based on questions you were asked, and I assume 
Lilli and Tom probably answer, TfL doesn't have copies of the risk assessments for ferry vehicles, nor does 
he have copies of risk assessments of the COVID risk reduction actions by the bus companies. These are 
answers that you've given Keith and they're in the public domain. No, that's fact, I'm telling you what you've 
written, and stated, that you didn't keep copies that risk assessments of the past come up with the COVID 
Risk Reduction actions, nor did you have copies of the risk assessments of the ferry vehicles. So, is that 
true, if it's not true, then can there be a response to Keith. Number two, how can TfL make any advice to 
the bus operators that they actually don't have copies of risk assessments. That's not a rhetorical question, 
I'm just curious. 
9

 
LM 
I'm not quite sure what your question is actually here 
, because I think we've gone around the risk 
assessment point you said you've just yourself said you've been told that we don't, so I'm not sure what 
your question is. 
 
 
So my question is, is that true, you don't have copies of the risk assessments of the COVID risk reduction 
activities by the bus companies, you don't have them? 
 
LM 
So, 
, I don’t know if you want to come in here, you've been given an answer. I don't see the point of 
this meeting is to go back over answers we've already given you, I think that the point of this meeting was 
to work through… 
 
 
I have a right to know if that's true, because that's surprising. 
 
LM 
You’ve been provided with an answer. 
 
 
That's not good enough for me. I'm sorry, your response was not good enough. So I want to know why. 
 
LM 
Well I'm sorry, that it's the response 

 
 
That's not good enough, people have died.  
 
LM 
So we've taken you through a very detailed presentation which explains in a lot, you know, in some 
substance, how we sought to understand how people have died and we're very, very mindful of that. And 
as an organisation, have been really, really impacted on that, and we set out also a range of actions that 
we've put in place to manage the risks that our bus workers face and obviously that extends to other 
workers that we have within TfL. So, I feel confident in the actions we've taken. I'm sorry that you're 
disappointed in the answers I provide, but that is the answer that I'm going to provide you on that. I don't 
know if there's anything else you want to talk about 
 
 
 
Well, while I'm still supporting 
 on that. I totally, want your shows that day, I appreciate, and it's actually 
show what's here TfL has actually been doing in the background. But if the messages and the information 
that you're, you collected and got together, wasn’t passed out to garages to implement, how can we say 
that they were doing what you believe they were doing if you didn't check it? Didn’t get risk assessments 
back, or overlook it? You trusted the unions and the garages to do something, but do you know they did it? 
We lost drivers, and that's why I think 
 is getting that message to you now to say, you know, did 
anyone check? Did anyone find out if the garages isn't doing what they said they will do. You know, I lost 
friends and colleagues, this, this is not acceptable. We need to know if TfL followed it up in the garages to 
make sure the garages were doing exactly what they should have been doing. 
 
LM 
So it was a very intense level of communication, I don't know if, Tom, if you just want us to give an 
overview of the kind of communication that was ongoing. As a flavour. It probably won't cover all of your 
questions, but it'll give you a little flavour of what kind of communication. 
 
TC 
So we saw the UCL researchers, Peter and the team, took the bus operators managing directors and other 
key staff through the findings of the report, they answered detailed questions. So, the full report that was 
that you've seen is in the public domain. They took a number of questions, and got answers to them as to 
10

what the evidence was, and also around the recommendations, as did we, in terms of some of the 
mitigations, and change that we put in place as a result. And then there was ongoing discussion on the 
operator calls that we had, that were, as I said earlier on, at times running daily, but more latterly reduced 
down to a couple of times a week, where we discussed those issues, we discussed the trends, we 
discussed the ease or difficulty of implementing the recommendations, and how that was going. So, there 
was a lot of discussion about it, there's a lot of sort of sharing of best practices about what was working, 
what sort of messaging was working and what wasn't working. For example, the temperature testing trial 
we did a number of garages last year was, was one example of where that was shared around, so there 
was a lot of sharing of best practice, but as I said earlier on, the, the operators are the employers, and they 
have the overall legal responsibility for ensuring that was put into place, and they, to the best of our 
understanding, took on board the UCL recommendations and have implemented those across their 
companies and that should have been passed down from the managing directors and senior colleagues, all 
the way through the organization's right down to garage level. 
 
LM 
And do you want to look for a little bit of analysis on that as some reassurance? In the first phase report, on 
the UCL report, they looked explicitly at how the different bus operators had implemented the safety 
measures, so they looked across a range of safety measures, and looked at how those had been 
implemented to see if there was any correlation between rates and speed of implementing those safety 
measures and the subsequent impact on drivers, and they didn't find any particular correlation between the 
speed and of implementation, what they actually did find is that all the operators had implemented all of the 
recommended measures by early April. And I think, I mean, it probably doesn't, you know, quite answer 
your question but I think that is testament to the fact that this relationship was being maintained. And 
there's conversations were going on and then you, it manifests itself in those measures being implemented 
in the various garages, and there was difference between the garages, and subsequently and obviously 
going back to Sam's point, the main and really sad conclusion was that the real thing that impacted most 
significantly, thank goodness, was lock down. And if we'd had locked down earlier, we would have 
managed the impact of the pandemic, we would have seen less impact on our drivers. So, I hope that's 
helpful I'm conscious Keith we've just got one minute so I didn't know if there was anything else you 
wanted to cover in summarising, 
 
KP 
no, no, I don't think so. I'm very grateful to you for your time and for giving us the time of your team and a 
lot of hours and I appreciate that very much. Probably slightly disappointed with some of the answers but 
certainly very grateful for the presentation and if you're prepared to share that with us. That's very helpful 
indeed. And certainly, that, that itself answers some of the questions that we would have had. But no, I'm 
very grateful to you. Thank you very much. 
 
LM 
Thanks. 
 thank you for raising a number of those issues which Tom will follow up with. It's good to 
get your first-hand experience, and thank you for driving the bus through the pandemic.  
 
*ENDS
 
 
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