A Tyne and Wear Metro train driver has spoken about the pride at working as a transport key worker through the coronavirus lockdown.
Craig Pearson, who has been a driver for seven years, has paid tribute to those who cant work from home.
He has also lifted the lid on what it is really like to be a Metro driver during the biggest public health emergency for generations here in the UK.
Craig, 37, of Gateshead, said: “It’s all a bit strange at the moment. The Metros are very quiet compared to what we’re used to. It’s eerie. It’s just nice for us to play our part in helping those other key workers to get around the system and to get where they need to go. There are many NHS staff and other essential workers relying on the Metro. We get a lot of supermarket workers still travelling too, and they have found themselves thrust on to the frontline of all this. There are people all over the area that need to travel. People are needing to go shopping for food, and there are some people who are still going into work. We are there for them.”
He added: “New working systems have been put in place for the drivers and more protective equipment is needed than ever before. It’s been challenging but also rewarding because I feel like I am playing my part in helping the country at a time of crisis. What strikes me when I am on duty is how eerily quiet it is. For us it’s a case of the same routine of being in the cab by ourselves, but the level of quiet we see at 4 am, and 5 am when we start taking the first trains out on the system is like that right across the day. It’s a strange thing for us to see.”
Craig is a former Northern Rock worker so is familiar with the impacts of a major economic contraction, which coronavirus is contributing towards.
He also had a special message for key workers. He said: “I’d say thank you to all of the other key workers out there. My message is just to keep going. We are going to get there, and at some point, we will return to normal. If you’re using the Metro system, then make sure you follow the Government advice at all times – only travel it really is essential and wear a face covering. Keep your spirits up. Keep doing what you’re doing, and stay safe.”
Metro Operations Director, Chris Carson, said: “Our train crews and other key workers are doing a magnificent job at this time of crisis. They’re coming into work every day and keeping people on the move; people who rely on Metro, and many are NHS staff. Coronavirus has led to an unprecedented challenge in the 40-year history of the Tyne and Wear Metro, and it’s been heartening to see the way that our employees have risen to the challenge.”
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