This is not social distancing; Drivers and passengers call for plan to stop spread of Covid-19 on public transport

This is not social distancing; Drivers and passengers call for plan to stop spread of Covid-19 on public transport
A crowded bus in Cork yesterday

THE National Bus and Rail Union have called for major scaling back of train and bus capacities to help contain the spread of Covid-19.

General Secretary, Dermot O’Leary, has said: "Our members along with their frontline colleagues remain concerned with regard to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. 

"Whilst the numbers travelling have started to drop off, we remain concerned that the seating and standing arrangments on our buses and trains are not in line with recommended best practice of keeping a distance of at least one meter from another person; the fact is that the current bus and train configuration are not compatible with the social distancing advice from the health experts," he said. 

The NBRU has written to the chief executive of of Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus and Iarnród Éireann communicating these concerns.

Meanwhile, an Italian woman, living in Cork for the last four years, has raised concerns about the crowded buses in Cork city, which she says are not conducive to stopping the spread of the virus.

Marina Puliga, who travels by bus twice a day to get to and from work in Mahon, has said the buses are a breeding ground for infection. 

Yesterday, on Marina's commute to work the bus was packed, with many passengers standing.

"People were sneezing and coughing. The World Health Organisation has said that people can catch Covid-19 if they are standing within one meter of a person with the virus if they breathe in droplets coughed out or exhaled by them. On the bus, we weren’t even 5cm apart," she said. 

"In Ireland, it’s not evident that there’s an emergency," Ms Puliga continued. 

She has called for more frequent bus services during this time to help reduce the number of passengers travelling by bus at any given time. 

Cork bus was packed with commuters yesterday morning. Picture: Marina Puliga
Cork bus was packed with commuters yesterday morning. Picture: Marina Puliga

Ms Puliga has also said that there needs to be a level of social responsibility in light of the novel coronavirus outbreak too. 

"I had travel plans to return home, but I have cancelled them. I’ve lost €600, but it’s the right thing to do. I have a lot of respect for Ireland and that’s why I made the decision. 

"We have to think about others. You don’t have to wait until flights are cancelled, you can make the right decision yourself," she said. 

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