Public transport staff in the West Midlands being tested for coronavirus

The testing aims to reduce the risk of passing the infection to hospital, social care staff and other key workers still using public transport.

Empty train carriage

Bus drivers and train conductors are among frontline public transport staff now being tested for coronavirus in the West Midlands.

The testing will ensure the safety of bus and train company staff and key workers, such as hospital staff, who are still using the network during the lockdown.

Frontline transport staff who fear they have COVID-19 or have come into contact with someone with symptoms can be tested and either isolated if the result is positive or safely return to work if it is negative.

This means the risk of passing the infection to hospital and social care staff and other key workers still using public transport is reduced.

The tests have been arranged by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “Key workers across the West Midlands are risking their lives day after day to protect us, and we need to do everything we can to keep them safe.

“I am pleased that following on from TfWM offering PPE to all frontline staff, we are now able to offer testing to key transport workers to allow them to continue to keep our transport network moving for essential journeys only.

“I hope this gives reassurance to both transport staff and the key workers still relying on public transport to get to and from work.”

Testing of transport staff is currently focussed on those working in frontline roles including drivers and conductors, station staff including cleaners and security roles and ticket office staff. Tests will also be available for engineers and vehicle cleaning staff where possible. 

Tests will be given to those showing symptoms (a persistent cough or high temperature) and those who live with or have been in direct contact with someone with symptoms. 

People are reminded only to leave home and use public transport if absolutely necessary.