Bus Drivers Nationwide Fear Holiday Crush Will Make Their Jobs Less Safe As COVID Intensifies

Chriss Swaney

Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – Several California-based bus drivers recently complained about safety issues as fears grow that transportation companies will pack buses to accommodate holiday travel.

The drivers, who wished to remain anonymous, reported concerns that some companies are overpacking buses and not enforcing mask policies.

“I’m not surprised with these concerns as more college students will be departing for home via bus with the upcoming holidays,” said Bill Schweers, a lawyer and assistant professor in the Political Science department at Carlow University.

In New York, 131 M.T.A. workers have died and more than 4,000 have tested positive for the virus. Some employees have cited a lack of widespread mask-wearing and social distancing early in the pandemic.

John Grout , a retired bus driver from Las Vegas, Nev., said it’s really scary for drivers now as safety protocols continue to be refined and changed as the COVID virus spreads. “Companies, drivers and passengers are all confused at times about just how much protection is necessary,” said Grout, who has several friends driving for Greyhound and the mass transit system in New York.

Susan Pierce of Waynesburg, Pa. said she often rides Greyhound to visit her elderly aunt in Chicago, Ill. “I’m afraid to ride right now because I don’t want to be standing around at a terminal.”

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit North America, the ATU (Amalgamated Transit Union) members have bravely been reporting for work often with little or no protection to provide critical transportation for essential workers to the frontlines to fight this crisis,” said Amalgamated Transit Union International President John Costa.

The ATU has been waging an aggressive Safe Service campaign to demand employers and elected officials provide proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and enact critical policies to keep transit workers safe on the job, according to Costa.

“The virus has had a devastating impact on the ATU, as 93 of our frontline members have lost their lives and thousands have been infected with the coronavirus. As infections and hospitalizations from the virus skyrocket again and more people are riding public transit, now more than ever it is critical for transit agencies to make the safety and health of workers and riders a top priority to help stop the spread of this deadly virus,” said Costa.

More than 30 million Americans each weekday board public transportation with 16 million criss-crossing the U.S. aboard Greyhound buses. More than 250,000 Americans have died so far from the coronavirus.

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