A ticket inspector on Croydon’s trams is the 29th transport worker in London to die from coronavirus, according to reports from the BBC this morning.
The man, believed to be in his late 50s, is as yet unnamed.
“Sadly, a revenue inspector working for the Tram Operations London team died earlier in the month due to covid-19,” a Transport for London spokesperson said. “Our thoughts are with his family, colleagues and friends.”
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has described the capital’s transport workers as “heroes”; 22 bus drivers are among those to have died from the virus.
“My thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones at this very difficult time,” Khan said. “This is deeply personal – I can’t help but think that this could have been my dad or his colleagues and friends.”
Additional cleaning is being carried out on trams overnight, and floor stickers have been introduced at East and West Croydon tram stops to assist with social distancing for passengers.
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We should not mark the latest death of a transport worker with sorrow and sympathy, put practical effort to increase the safety of all key workers.
Daniel Defoe’s fascinating Journal of the Plague Year describes the first contactless payment when market traders who were terrified of infection made customers place their cash in and take change from bowls of vinegar. That was in the 18th century.
I have yet to see figures for lives saved thanks to the rapid take-up of contactless payments in the UK but this might be significant. A stall in the market uses a card reader, Assistance from receptionists or transport workers could come via mobile phones. All shopping collected by staff in PPE and delivered in isolating packaging.
Could Croydon become the first contactless community? Our key workers deserve it.
It would be intersting to see if (and if so – when) London Transport issued advice to Tramlink and the bus companies like Arriva, as to how best to reduce infection risks to drivers and inspectors, and indeed, what the companies did themselves to protect their staff.