The Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday (March 23) of tighter restrictions on working, social interaction and travel to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus have clear implications for the country’s light rail sector.
Those employed in the sector are classed as key workers and the importance of public transport in ensuring other essential services remain operational has also been widely recognised.
Clearly, across the sector, the safety of customers and staff is the top priority for our members who have already introduced a range of measures to achieve this while continuing to run an essential public service.
UKTram has looked at the measures taken by members and produced a list of recommendations to help share best practice during this unprecedented situation.
If they haven’t already introduced these or similar measures, the following guide may be useful:
- Develop a Business Continuity Plan specifically designed for COVID-19 outbreak that deals with staff shortages due to illness/self-isolation.
- The plan should outline a step-down approach to Service Degradedmodes, (Sunday Service), Dormant mode(all trams in the depot, power on), Shut-down modeand Recovery mode.
- Employees such as functional support staff should work from home where possible and members of the senior management team should also work offsite to ensure backup for all key areas within the business
- Hold daily video conference with the management team to keep in contact and discuss the latest guidance, issues faced and plans that need to be implemented.
- Inform all driver trained dual role staff they will be required to drive to maintain service if necessary
Practical steps to protect customers/employees
- Adjust service frequency to meet passenger demand/expectation
- Enhanced cleaning/sanitisation of trams overnight
- Regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, including buttons and handrails, throughout the day
- Cleaning and sanitisation of all TVM’s and PV’s on a daily basis
- Review of cleaning products to ensure the most appropriate detergents are being used
- Further restrict access into Operation Control Centres
- Ensure team personnel overlap is minimal to limit risk of passing on the virus
- Posters displayed where employees will see them, updated regularly, following the latest guidance from the Government and the NHS
- Posters informing the public on general advice and actions the network is taking
- Where critical staff are located in one office, consider moving some to other rooms, if available, or to other areas, where safe distancing can be maintained
- Travel officers to maintain their social distancing wherever possible and review revenue protection measures to reduce contact between staff and customers
- Alcohol based hand sanitiser should be available to staff for use whilst on duty
- Trams should be equipped with hand sanitiser/dashboard cleaner for use by drivers
Of course, the list above is not exhaustive, but is made up of measures already taken by our members. As the situation evolves, we will continue to provide updates based on the latest Government advice and the experience of members.