Unite the union, which represents over 20,000 bus workers, is calling on the government to intervene immediately to prevent overcrowding on London’s buses.

Overcrowded buses

Unite made its call following pictures and reports today (Wednesday 13 May) of overcrowded buses in London on the day that more workers were told they should return to work.

Unite believes that the government must act to ensure safety.  It is calling for clear rules to be provided on the maximum capacity of buses, and for the government to also provide a method of enforcing them rather than expecting the bus driver to take action.

Safety concerns

Unite is also advising its members that if overcrowding becomes so so dangerous that it threatens their safety than they should stop work immediately and remove themselves from the danger.

Immediate action

Unite regional officer for London buses John Murphy said: “Pictures of overcrowded buses are frightening and action must be taken immediately.

 “The government is on the one hand telling people to go back to work but on the other failing to provide the means for them to get there safely.

 “Overcrowding can only be resolved by the government providing additional funding to run more buses during peak hours and introducing strict rules on policing the number of passengers on each bus.

 “To greatly reduce the dangers of transmission of COVID-19 the wearing of face masks must become mandatory; merely advising passengers to wear them is simply not clear enough.

 “Policing overcrowding cannot and will not be the responsibility of the driver. 

"During the pandemic at least 30 bus workers have lost their lives in London.  Huge efforts have been made to protect the workforce and Unite will not allow that to be compromised.

 “We have advised members of their right to withdraw from serious and imminent danger in line with the legal protections that exist, and that where they are forced to do so they will receive Unite’s full support.”


Notes to editors:

Government must introduce maximum public transport capacity rules and face masks to ensure safety warns Unite

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.