Have you ever considered learning more about the best COVID-19 prevention practices while riding on public buses?
Whether you’re a passenger or driver using Town Transit from UniteGPS, it’s more than likely that you’ve crossed paths with somebody wearing a mask incorrectly (better said, ineffectively) while onboard a bus. Perhaps you’ve seen folks with a face covering placed underneath their nose, maybe sporting a flimsy bandana, or simply nothing at all.
While not foolproof, masks do reduce the risk of transmitting or contracting COVID-19. To protect those around you and curb further spreading, it’s important to enforce mask wearing while riding any public bus, especially when it comes to ensuring the safety of our drivers.
Below we will delve into the important roles bus drivers play and how it’s up to us to protect them.
Are bus drivers essential workers?
They absolutely are!
Let’s begin by reinforcing the fact that drivers are bonafide essential workers. Without them, millions of Americans wouldn’t be able to commute to work, attend classes, care for family, etc. Despite their vital role in helping society run, though, bus drivers don’t always receive the recognition they deserve.
Throughout the course of COVID-19, over 100 American transit workers have reportedly died due to the virus from New York to New Orleans. As much as society feels forsaken by the government throughout this pandemic, these tragic losses reinforce the imperative need to protect some of the most vulnerable members of society.
Really, compared to anyone else in the transit industry, bus drivers have the most exposure to people. From passengers, coworkers, transit authority workers, to maintenance crew members, bus driver interact with them all.
How to protect drivers from COVID-19
Sources say that public transport users can be up to 6 times more likely to transmit the virus based on their exposure to others on any given bus. With this, effective mask wearing decreases the odds of COVID-19 transmission while protecting essential workers, such as bus drivers.
Some cities are also coming up with innovative ways to mitigate passengers from even coming close to the drivers. For example, London is now making bus travel free to provide further protections for drivers against coronavirus. What this entails is passengers boarding in the middle of the bus rather than the front to avoid contact with the driver. This development comes after 20 London bus drivers have passed away from COVID-19 complications.
While contactless payments have been promoted, this still requires passengers to come close to the driver, so alternative boarding methods could be a wise decision. While many U.S. transit authorities may be considering similar initiatives, here is what we can do in the meantime:
Best COVID-19 prevention practices on a bus
- Wash your heads with soap and water before putting on your mask, not to mention before leaving home and once you arrive at your destination
2. Make sure that there are no holes or tears
3. Cover any cough or sneeze
4. Maintain a social distance of six feet
5. Carry hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes
6. Avoid touching any surface
7. Assess the risk level and ask yourself if taking the bus is 100 percent necessary
Fact check: carbon dioxide doesn’t get trapped under your mask as long as they are properly fitted, meaning it’s important to find your right size! Health experts also recommend that people wear masks as snugly as possible on their face. If your mask isn’t snug around the chin, covering the mouth and nose all at once, then you’re defeating the purpose.