New fresh air system protects bus drivers against Covid-19

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ore than 1,200 London buses have been fitted with a device to allow drivers to breathe fresh air and reduce the risk of catching Covid-19 after 45 TfL deaths from the virus were recorded.

Grayson Thermal Systems (GTS), working with University College London, took under three months to create the the system and install them on the capital’s buses.

Drivers’ compartments can now receive over 100 changes of air from outside the bus every hour. Drivers no longer have to breathe in air from the passengers zones.

Ian Hateley, director at GTS, said the loss of London bus drivers to the pandemic was “tragic”.

Mother Of Bus Driver Who Died From Coronavirus

“We looked at our existing air-conditioning systems and developed a way of converting them so that they created positive pressure in the enclosed driver cabin, forcing existing air out and replacing it with air from outside the bus,” he said.

Tom Cunnington, Transport for London’s head of bus business development, said: “Working with GTS, we were able to act quickly and add an extra layer of protection to the cabs to prevent the air from the passenger section of the bus being recirculated into the driver cab and ensure our drivers breathe the safest air possible.”

TfL boss Andy Byford told Mayor of London Sadiq Khan – whose father was a bus driver – that he knows “it does resonate personally with you, Sadiq, to have lost another colleague”.

Trade union Unite, which represents more than 20,000 London bus workers, has called for improvements to vehicle safety to better protect drivers and passengers as the virus continues to spread.

It wants to ensure all screens and seals are properly installed, health and safety reps are stood down from normal duties to monitor safety in garages and for a review and enhancement of cleaning regimes.