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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 July 28 - August 3  > Olympic bus drivers overworked and unappreciated
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2021 July 28 - August 3 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Olympic bus drivers overworked and unappreciated

July 29, 2021
Hundreds of bus drivers from throughout Japan are now in Tokyo to convey Olympic/Paralympic athletes, officials of international sports associations, and news reporters. Many drivers expressed anger regarding their poor accommodations in addition to their exhausting workload.

They commute to Tokyo's bay area by pickup buses from their accommodations to stand by at bus depots there where many Olympic venues are located.

Here is the story of an Olympic bus driver who is staying at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center which was built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

He leaves the center at around 11 a.m. and goes to his depot, about a 45-minute drive by bus. He works until after midnight with several breaks and spends another 45 minutes on the bus to go back to the center.

In his depot, there is one food truck and some open-air booths for boxed meals. Only vending machines selling instant noodle soup are available 24 hours. He complained, "I cannot eat what I want for lunch and supper. It's very stressful. Here in the depot, many drivers come and go, and the resting room is always packed." He said that several buildings in his accommodation in the 57-year-old complex have no elevators, and that some drivers have to take the stairs up to the fifth floor. He angrily said, "Many of us came here for the Olympics without getting vaccinations, leaving our families behind. Despite that, we've been treated harshly."

On July 19, it was reported that some individuals among the foreign press were found to test COVID-19 positive. However, details on who, how many, or what country they were from were kept secret.

A bus driver who transports media personnel said, "We don't know what country they are from and which hotel they are staying at. Because of this lack of information, all of us feel scared and neglected."

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