Safety First: how workers are keeping buses going in lockdown

Engineer Barry Radcliffe working on the buses through Lockdown 3 at the First Eastern Counties bus depot in Roundtree Way,...

Engineer Barry Radcliffe working on the buses through Lockdown 3 at the First Eastern Counties bus depot in Roundtree Way, Norwich. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Frontline workers helping to keep buses running for NHS staff and other key workers have told of their determination to not give up.

First Eastern Counties buses are continuing to operate various services across Norfolk and Suffolk for essential journeys and to keep people safe it is carrying reduced numbers, people have to wear masks and windows are kept open.

Barry Radcliffe, who has worked as an engineer at the firm's Roundtree Way depot in Norwich for the past year, said: "Only use the buses if necessary."

The 36-year-old, from Wellesley Road in Great Yarmouth, added: "As long as people follow the rules, put face masks on and stick to social distancing so we can stay safe and get to some sort of normality as far as possible."

But he knew some people were still using buses for a day out during the third national lockdown, which he added was not the right way to use the buses.

"It is more important for the NHS and other key workers which is why we are putting ourselves at risk to do what we do," said Mr Radcliffe.

He enjoyed being able to carry on working on the inside and outside of the buses because he liked doing his bit for the community during lockdown.

The engineer added stringent measures had been introduced to keep First staff safe as well as passengers and said the work was busier and took longer due to the need to protect everyone.

Bus driver, Leon Lambert, working through Lockdown 3 at the First Bus depot in Roundtree Way. Pictur

Bus driver, Leon Lambert, working through Lockdown 3 at the First Bus depot in Roundtree Way. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2021

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His colleague, Leon Lambert, 28, who has driven First buses for the past five years, said he had slight worries about bringing the virus home to his four-month-old baby.

But the father-of-three from Acle said the management at First buses had gone "above and beyond" to keep staff safe.

Mr Lambert said: "First buses play a big part in community life in and around Norwich. A good percentage of our customers rely on our services to get to work, so without us continuing to run during lockdown and do our job many other key workers wouldn’t have been able to do theirs.

"If you do need to use our buses, please be assured that we at First Bus are doing all we can to protect our passengers and their families.

"If we all continue to follow the rules, we will come out of the other side sooner rather than later."

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