The coronavirus in Hungary still rages on with worse and worse statistics every day. We have already reported about the dangers of this and what might happen if people who handle the essential social services will be infected in one of our previous articles. If enough people are infected in such areas, it could halt the working of Budapest and even lead to dangerous situations if it happens to people who are responsible for clean water or energy.
First, the continuous functioning of the metro line M2 has been in danger two weeks back when Deputy Mayor Kata Tüttő expressed her concern about the high infection rate among drivers. It is vital to protect metro drivers in Budapest because they are pretty valuable. Because there is no metro in any other city in Hungary, it is impossible to find a substitute if too many of them get infected. On March 10, the metro was two sick workers away from having to shut down.
This is not everything, however, as other sources were genuinely concerned about the possible consequences of other facilities shutting down. If a metro line shuts down, it is quite problematic, but it has been a general practice to substitute metro lines with buses if necessary. If workers of a water cleaning facility will be infected, who are also specialised workers, the difficulties in replacing them can have even more significant adverse effects. If energy plants would need to close, no one could do their jobs, and the entire capital would shut down.
In order to keep the capital running, Kata Tüttő urges that these 500 workers who have an essential role in keeping the city up and running should be considered crucial and be moved further up on the list of people to be vaccinated. She said about the threat previously.
The chief executive officer of BKV (Budapest Transport Privately Held Corporation), Tibor Bolla, said on Infostart that they could substitute the labour shortage in the case of bus drivers, but tram and metro drivers are too specialised, so they might not be able to replace them. Tibor Bolla said that about 500 people have dropped out at once due to coronavirus infections.
“In the third wave of the pandemic, a lot of our workers have been affected. There are more than 500 people who are either infected or an immediate contact of infected. There have been an overall of more than 1,700 people who have been affected and we have lost 9 of our collegues,” – the CEO said in the report.
There is currently no disturbance in the operation of the public transportations. He added that if the virus does not worsen, they can keep the public transport in Budapest running. He also added that there is a 10% labour shortage among bus drivers. They can manage that with replacements and overtime, but
they do not have that many reserves in railway-based transportations because those are specially trained for each individual line. In such sectors, a 1-2% labour shortage can cause massive problems.
Two weeks ago, the Deputy Mayor initiated that public transportation drivers and other essential service workers should also be considered high-risk due to their work’s importance. It seems like she had succeeded and the vaccination of the workers of BKV.
Tibor Bolla, the CEO of BKV, confirmed that their workers’ vaccination has started, and they have 136 vaccinated workers.
He added that they prepared a vaccination list according to the most critical sectors. They try to protect their drivers by closing off a little area immediately next to the drivers so they would not be as easily infected.