Thirty-four Transport for London staff have died after testing positive for coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, and the majority were bus workers.
TfL has confirmed that the staff who lost their lives include 28 bus workers, four London Underground and Rail staff, one person who worked in head office, and one who worked at a partner organisation.
Last week TfL introduced “middle-door only boarding” on its buses, in order to limit bus drivers’ proximity to passengers and reduce the risk of catching Covid-19.
TfL commissioner Mike Brown released an emotional statement calling his staff “heroes”.
“34 of our colleagues have passed away. The incredibly important role that they have played for this city will be remembered by all of us forever,” Mr Brown said.
He continued: “We are all utterly devastated that colleagues working in the transport industry have died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
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“It is an absolute tragedy and I can’t imagine the pain and suffering that their families and friends are going through.
“Transport workers have risen to the challenge of the coronavirus with great humanity, compassion and a real determination to do what is right for Londoners.
“They have been on the front line of the national effort to beat the pandemic. They are all heroes, enabling doctors, nurses, ambulance workers and many other people carrying out critical roles to get to work and save lives.”
The announcement comes days after TfL furloughed 7,000 of its staff – about 25% of its total workforce – with all staff affected receiving full pay.
Since the lockdown, bus usage in London has fallen by 88%. Passenger numbers on the London Underground have fallen by 95%, although there are still concerns that train carriages can be congested at peak times.
Mr Brown added: “The safety of our colleagues and those using our services is our absolute priority and, working with the Mayor, we will continue doing all that we can to protect our staff and those critical workers who still need to use our services for essential journeys.”
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