Ninety-eight London transport workers, including more than 50 bus drivers, have died of Covid-19 since March 2020. Several taxi drivers have also died, though the total number is unknown.
On Monday, TfL revealed plans to install a commemorative plaque alongside a cherry blossom tree in a pedestrian plaza in Aldgate as a permanent tribute to those who lost their lives to the virus while keeping London’s transport network moving.
The families of the 98 transport workers who have died were informed of the plans for a memorial last week by TfL commissioner Andy Byford.
Ahead of the public unveiling of the plans on Monday, Mr Byford said: “I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of all transport workers across London who have sadly lost their lives to coronavirus. Their tragic loss is devastating for us all, we owe them our gratitude and this memorial will ensure that we never forget them.
“I also want to personally thank all frontline staff on our bus, Tube and rail services who kept our city moving through the dark period through which London has come, the maintenance teams who kept the network safe, the taxi and private hire drivers who helped people continue to attend hospital appointments during the pandemic and all the cleaners who ensured the network is clean and safe to use. Without you - the city could not have got through the pandemic.”
The cherry blossom tree at the centre of the new memorial will reflect the cherry blossom garden opened in east London earlier this year by the Mayor of London as a “living memorial” to all Londoners who have died of Covid-19.
Mr Khan said: “I am devastated that 98 London transport workers have died from Covid, and each and every one of them will always be in my thoughts. As the son of a bus driver, this is deeply personal to me, and I can’t help but think how it could have been my dad or his colleagues or friends.
“I hope that the new permanent memorial in the middle of our city will be a place where those that have lost loved ones will find solace, and be a reminder of the heroic key workers who have made it possible for us to come through the pandemic by keeping our city moving.”
TfL is aiming to submit a planning application for the memorial to Tower Hamlets council early next year with a view to opening it by summer 2022.