A Bristol bus driver has ‘pleaded and begged’ passengers to stop using cash on buses to minimise the risk to drivers of catching coronavirus Covid-19.
Passengers have already been asked by First West of England to not buy tickets on the bus using coins, but one driver said some people were insisting on doing so.
Bus bosses have been urging people to use phone apps and bank cards, and not use coins or notes to stop the physical transfers between drivers and passengers.
One bus driver in the city has already died from coronavirus, and now another driver has posted on social media about his experiences – and begging people to stop using cash.
The driver posted on a bus passengers Facebook group, and pleaded with people to leave cash in their pockets.
“As a concerned driver, I’m asking you all – actually begging you – to try and pay by phone or contactless,” the driver, who Bristol Live is not naming, said.
(Image: David Betts Photography)
“The amount I’ve had on my bus today trying to pay by cash has been unbelievable.
“When the virus started a few weeks ago, people were doing their best to pay by contactless, but it appears the novelty has worn off and now people are trying to pay with cash.
“I even had a guy call me a p**** today because I asked him nicely,” he added.
With coronavirus remaining on surfaces like coins and notes for several hours at least, drivers who are continually handling other people’s money are being put at greater risk than if they were able to seal themselves off completely in their cabs.
First Bus recently agreed with the drivers’ union to implement much more stringent safety measures and PPE provision, following the tragic death of Bristol bus driver, Martin Egan in the early days of the pandemic, at the end of March.
The unnamed driver added: “We, as drivers, don’t want to catch the virus and die – we have families we want to live to see.
“We are trying our best, we don’t need to be sworn at and abused – please, please try and pay by phone or contactless,” he added.
Among the comments left by other drivers, one said that he was even getting passengers trying to pay by cash in the hope that the driver would refuse it and wave them onto the bus without paying at all.
During his recent Facebook Live, the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said that passenger numbers during the Coronavirus lockdown had dropped to just nine per cent of their usual numbers – meaning that just one passenger out of every 11 was still travelling on the buses.
But to ensure that there is still a bus service for keyworkers to get to and from work, First Bus have maintained 40 per cent of their regular service.