Thank you for contacting me about coronavirus and transport staff.
It is vital that we keep our transport system going but also protect transport staff.
The death of Belly Mujinga was tragic and my thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time. Belly Mujinga was simply doing her job at Victoria station, helping those who needed to travel. I understand that the British Transport Police have now invited the Crown Prosecution Service to conduct an independent review of the available evidence. I will closely follow any developments and welcome the fact that the Crown Prosecution Service will now have the opportunity to review this case.
Guidance has been issued to transport operators to help them identify and address risks to their staff as the lockdown eases. For example, the guidance encourages operators to carry out risk assessments, set out clear rules on interacting with passengers, re-deploy clinically vulnerable people into roles where the risk is lower, and use screens to create a physical barrier at places such as ticket offices.
I have been reassured that the Government will also work with transport operators to ensure staff are provided with face coverings where appropriate for their role.
In addition, operators should put in place protocols to ensure that both public and private areas and vehicles are kept clean to stop transmission of coronavirus through people touching contaminated surfaces. Buttons, handrails, vehicle keys, and other touch points should be subject to increased cleaning.
Transport staff should wash their hands thoroughly and frequently, and operators should maintain sufficient supplies of hand sanitiser, including for those working away from hand washing facilities.
The guidance recognises that transport staff may not be able to stay 2 metres apart from each other or passengers at all times, but states that the length of these periods should be minimised.
Guidance for passengers also makes clear that they should consider all other transport options before deciding to take public transport. Passengers who do use public transport must wear a face covering and should try to avoid the rush hour. They should also observe social distancing rules, wash or sanitise their hands and catch coughs or sneezes with tissues. People should not be using public transport at all if they have symptoms of coronavirus or if they or anyone in their household is selfisolating.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
James Duddridge MP
Member of Parliament for Rochford and Southend East