The Workers Union has hailed Britain’s heroic bus drivers, calling them ‘the courageous force that keeps the country moving.’
In a statement released this morning, a spokesperson for the organisation said: ‘Bus drivers kept coming in to work during the pandemic, despite the obvious risks to their health. That was commendable enough, but so is their commitment to public service in the face of the cost of living crunch. Many of them work long shifts, for relatively low wages, doing their best to support their families while inflation rockets. At the same time, they regularly go above and beyond to help passengers – and colleagues – who need it.’
The Workers Union’s statement comes after a bus driver in Wrexham received a community hero prize for helping a man who was having a heart attack. Matt Jones and Daniel Johnson rescued a fellow bus driver, Stephen Bustin, who was trapped on the gangway of his bus, unable to reach the door button. Upon hearing the man’s cries, they immediately went to his aid, and drove him to hospital where – after being resuscitated four times – he survived the ordeal.
A statement from F Jones – who originally established the award alongside Wrexham Lager – said: ‘Matt’s colleague Dan phoned for an ambulance, but he was told there would be over an hour’s wait.
‘He kept holding Steve, instructing him to keep coughing. Matt knew what to do in these circumstances, as his son Archie has cardiac heart problems and he has received training on what to do in this situation.
‘Realising they were in a life-threatening situation, Matt and Dan made the decision to drive the Arriva bus to the emergency department at the hospital.
‘There is no doubt Steve owes his life to the quick thinking that day. Matt knew to keep Steve taking deep breaths and cough vigorously. He has even received a letter from Wrexham Hospital thanking him for his actions!’
Mr Jones’ actions are not an isolated example of cool decision-making under pressure. In March this year, a double decker bus full of school children caught fire on the A90 in Perthshire, Scotland. The vehicle was engulfed in flames and smoke, but that didn’t stop the driver from safely evacuating the children. A spokesperson for the bus operating company, Stagecoach East Scotland, said that the company was ‘very proud of the driver, who took quick action to ensure everyone was safely evacuated.’
The Workers Union Says
It would be a mistake to think of bus drivers (or indeed transport workers in general) as the people who “only” take the public from A to B. They are not just transporting people, they are also responsible for getting them there in one piece – with all that implies.
Given the pressures on drivers, it is truly remarkable that they manage to deliver safe services shift in, shift out. So while the country steams under literal pressure from the sun and the figurative pressure of financial insecurity, we would urge bus companies to show their drivers a little more respect. It is time that these heroes – who clearly do so much more than operate a machine – are given a settlement that formally recognises their contribution to society.