Bus pass rules need to be relaxed and taxis hired by government, to help the vulnerable and key workers
- Friday 20 March 2020
Unite which represents tens of thousands of transport workers, is calling on the government to take dramatic action to help the elderly visit shops and key workers get to work while the coronavirus crisis continues.
Bus pass rules relaxed
Unite, the UK and Ireland's largest union, is entering in discussions with the government about having the rules on when over 60s can utilise free bus travel to be relaxed, some areas such as Greater Manchester have already announced this.
Many supermarkets are introducing a system where the elderly can shop first but if they are unable to use public transport to get to the shops then such a system only benefits those with access to a car.
Government utilise taxis
Unite is also calling for the government to hire taxis (hackney carriages) to transport key workers, vulnerable people and medical supplies.
Hackney carriages, which have seen a dramatic fall in trade since the crisis began, are very hygienic as passengers are sealed away from the driver due to a glass partition. They are regularly disinfected and such cleaning measures can be further increased.
Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton said: “The government needs to relax the rules on free bus travel during the coronavirus, so that older people can travel when they need to.
“If the rules on free bus travel are not relaxed then only older people with access to a car will be able to take advantage of special supermarket opening hours.
“Hackney carriage drivers have seen a huge drop in work due to the coronavirus but they can provide the most efficient and cleanest travel.
“The government should be hiring these taxis to get key workers to work and to transport medical supplies.
“Not only will the workers who are keeping the country going during the ongoing crisis have a safe and clean way to travel to and from work but taxi drivers who are self-employed who have seen earnings collapse, will continue to be paid, while benefiting society.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.