Bus drivers feel the heat

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Local bus drivers and passengers have been feeling Penrith’s summer heat more than most this year.

Despite temperatures regularly soaring above 40 degrees during the summer in Penrith, buses not fitted with air conditioning are still being used for some services.

A Busways spokesperson said that 80 per cent of their services in the western Sydney region operated with air conditioned buses.

“When non-air conditioned buses are required to operate during high temperatures, Busways drivers are instructed to keep buses well ventilated by opening windows and roof vents to allow air to circulate,” the spokesperson said.

With one in five services running without air conditioning, new buses in western Sydney can’t come quick enough.

“Through our fleet replacement plan, older buses are constantly being replaced with brand new air-conditioned buses,” the Busways spokesperson said.

“Busways will receive another nine air-conditioned buses in February 2019 for our Western Sydney region.”

Richard Olsen, State Secretary of the Transport Workers Union of NSW, said: “The impact on drivers and the danger to them and members of the travelling public is immense”.

The Workers Health Centre advise that working in high temperatures can induce heat stress when more heat is absorbed into the body than can be dissipated out.

A bus driver in the south of Sydney recently recorded temperatures of up to 53 degrees inside his non-air conditioned bus that was being used to pick up high school students.

The Transport Workers Union believe that it is a common issue among many bus companies in NSW.

“Many drivers are forced to endure working in non-air conditioned buses in heatwaves across Sydney,’’ Mr Olsen said.

“The TWU understands that many non-air conditioned buses are used on school routes.”

90 per cent of government bus services in metropolitan Sydney are air conditioned.

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