The front passenger doors on all London buses should be sealed shut to protect drivers, union leaders demanded today.

Eight bus workers in the capital have died after developing coronavirus symptoms.

More than a million people are travelling on London buses every day despite the government’s lockdown.

Leaders of the Unite union have complained about a lack of Personal Protection Equipment for drivers.

The union today called on Transport for London to stop passengers using the front door.

At the current time passengers board through the front door bringing them to close proximity with the driver and although we have the screens up what we're calling for now is that only central door boarding is used. We should therefore seal off an area behind the driver so there's no need for any close contact between the driver and passengers.

Peter Kavanagh, Unite

London mayor Sadiq Khan said closing the doors could cause other problems.

One of the downsides of this is that it can lead to congestion of passengers which can't be controlled by the driver because it's using the back door. But we're exploring all these things. A couple of cities around the world are using a rear door entrance. It poses some challenges with crowd control. It's not possible to keep a social distance using the back doors without crowd control from the bus driver. But this is being explored.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

The safety of our staff and customers is our absolute priority and we have been working closely with the bus companies, the Mayor and Unite the Union to implement a range of changes and improvements to keep the bus network and garages safe for those operating and using it, in accordance with Public Health England advice.

Claire Mann, TfL’s Director of Bus Operations