Croydon-based bus driver is 30th to die from coronavirus

A bus driver based in Croydon, Kofi Opoku, is among the latest victims of covid-19.

Kofi Opoku drove a Metrobus out of the Beddington Lane depot

Opoku worked out of Metrobus’s depot on Beddington Lane. He died last week, his trades union has confirmed.

Now Unite is demanding assurances that all screens between drivers and passengers are installed properly and a review of cleaning regimes.

The call comes as London’s status is about to be raised to Tier 2 at midnight on Friday because of a rapid increase in the number of reported covid-19 positive cases.

Opoku is the 30th bus driver to die from coronavirus this year.

“The death of Kofi Opoku is a terrible reminder of the horrible human cost of covid-19,” said Unite official John Murphy.

“Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.

“With infection rates rising swiftly and the knowledge we have gained from the first wave, it is absolutely essential that all these safety measures are introduced to protect bus drivers and their passengers.

“During the first lockdown London bus drivers played a vital role in keeping the capital moving and for that too many paid the ultimate price.

“Significant safety procedures have been already introduced, but action needs to be taken to reinforce those measures.”

A Transport for London spokesperson said that all the bus operators working routes in the capital have safety measures in place, “which includes a relentless focus on cleaning and the introduction of long-lasting anti-viral cleaning fluid”.

TfL has promised to carry out inspections at bus garages where concerns have been raised.


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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8 Responses to Croydon-based bus driver is 30th to die from coronavirus

  1. Dan Kelly says:

    The other day, going from Old Lodge Lane to Purley Tesco there were 10 to 15 teenagers on the top deck none of whom were wearing masks.
    I have seen no policing of mask wearing on any buses tubes or trains or stations.
    What is Khan doing to stop more transport workers and members of the public being put at risk?

    • “The policing of mask-wearing” is an interesting one, Dan. Who would you have do it? The Mayor himself (though he might be stretched to cover all of London)? The police? Bus drivers?
      The government suggested that local authorities should have mask wardens out and about, but they provided no money for it, and so that’s never happened.
      Enough transport staff have been abused – including in one notorious case, spat at – for asking people to do the sensible thing.
      What is Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings doing to stop more transport workers and the public being put at risk?

      • Dan Kelly says:

        Bus drivers have radios and can call for police attendance, I’ve seen it done in a case of vandalism.
        With a bit of common sense and organisation, there must be some in TfL and the police, hit squads could be employed.
        The offenders could be penalised and the proceedings given lots of publicity through the media like yourself. The word would soon get around and there would be a disincentive for others to offend.
        This is Khan’s job, he is alleged to run TfL. What an earth have Johnson and Cummings to do with this issue? I know it’s autumn but there’s no need to drag up old chestnuts!

        • “Hit squads”?
          Buses waiting for BTP to get on scene for every mask infraction? You haven’t quite thought this through, have you?

          For your information, as you clearly don’t understand, Johnson is facilitating a Cummings-run government. It is they who have been setting policy for the handling of the pandemic. Including the wearing of masks, and its enforcement. They also have a responsibility towards the funding of TfL.

          Frontline staff – including transport workers – deserve the respect of the public and protection from the authorities. At the moment, it seems they are not getting enough of either.

          • Dan Kelly says:

            I did think it through! If the driver calls in as soon as the miscreants boarded the Metropolitan Police could meet the bus at say Coombe Road, which gives them half an hour to get there and then start processing people on board and not need to hold the bus up.
            The BTP can cover rail transport which is their domain.
            What we need is a large number of highly publicised cases to act as a deterrent, rather like all the £350 fines handed out by the council in 2016 for merely dropping a cigarette end.

          • That is as ludicrous a suggestion as it is entirely impractical.

  2. John Harvey says:

    Deep regrets

  3. Lewis White says:

    The article states “TfL has promised to carry out inspections at bus garages where concerns have been raised.”

    If that phrase is a true indicator of the level of seriousness and proactive action about hygiene being taken by TfL , well, God help the drivers, and indeed, us the customers using the buses. TfL should not only be carrying out inspections at some garages, they should not only be inspecting but insisting on this “relentless” hygiene work at all garages and to all buses, as a matter of rigorous routine.

    Unbelievable.

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