DoI Minister Tim Crookall has said that no assessment of the prevalence of Covid transmissions on the island’s buses has been undertaken, after advice from Public Health.
Mr Crookall was asked by Speaker Juan Watterson, himself a regular bus user, what assessment had been done and the impact and adequacy of the busses’ ventilation systems.
The Minister said that advice was provided by Public Health to CoMin and Bus Vannin and that following this, ‘no assessment has been undertaken regarding transmission of the virus on the island’s bus fleet’.
He added: ‘On all vehicles, the design is required to provide adequate ventilation and the health of the passengers is always a priority. Our single deck vehicles have an enhanced air circulation system which changes the air in the vehicles every two minutes. To enable the system to operate effectively, it is best that the windows remain closed; however, passengers are able to open the windows and appear to feel more comfortable with the windows open.
‘Our double decker buses have a similar ventilation system which includes basic filtration but does not have a manufacturer specified time for air changes.’
Mr Crookall said that all of the island’s buses have separate air intakes for the driver’s seat which ‘should create a positive pressure to prevent the driver breathing the air from the passengers’.
Back in March, it was said that over 40 bus drivers were in insolation with eight drivers being confirmed as testing positive at that time. This was the same time that former chief minister Howard Quayle criticised people for ‘joyriding’ and ‘sightseeing’ on the buses during the island’s third lockdown and putting drivers at risk.
However, Mr Crookall’s answer to Mr Watterson’s question says that drivers did not catch Covid on the buses.
He said: ‘During the period of Covid-19 so far, a few bus drivers have unfortunately suffered from Covid-19; however, contact tracing confirmed that it had not been contracted within the working environment which would suggest that the ventilation system is adequate.’