Following recent guidance from the Government, First Bus has made an announcement on changes to keep services running and provide reassurance for essential travel and key workers:
First Bus has responded to Government advice to enable social distancing on public transport and through this week we’re implementing additional steps to ensure a safer journey for everyone:
- Our buses we will be operating at a reduced capacity with around 1 in 4 seats being available. The revised capacity will be displayed via a sticker on the exterior front of the bus. If any journey reaches its revised maximum capacity, the driver will update the destination screen to show “Bus full due to social distancing” and then adopt a one-off / one-on process at subsequent stops.
- Customers will be encouraged to sit next to a window with a row empty in front and a row empty behind with seat labelling in place as necessary. Please note these seating measures are advisory for customers and we will not be asking our drivers to enforce them or leave their cab area, unless operating the manual bus ramp. The driver will help advise customers when boarding where seats are available.
The above procedures are being put in place following consultation with trade union representatives and following learnings from several social distancing trials across the UK, including on route 24 in Bristol.
These measures will be actively promoted through customer channels together with the reinforcement of existing measures to minimise transfer of the Covid-19 virus such as encouraging alternative payment to cash.
We will also be encouraging customers to wear face coverings, if they can. Please note we will not be asking drivers to wear face coverings whilst driving as it may prove to be a distraction to them. In addition, the cab area is separated from the saloon by a screen.
Although bus services are only provided for those that need to make essential journeys, we expect there will be occasions when customers may not be able to board their intended journey due to capacity levels being reached. In line with this, we are therefore advising those who cannot avoid public transport to check their journey details in advance, avoid busier periods and allow extra time for their journey as they may need to wait if their bus is full when it arrives.
We are also working hard with central government and locally with WECA and North Somerset Council to increase our levels of service. This includes the major operation of bringing back buses ready for service again and is being undertaken in line with discussions around funding as passenger numbers are expected to remain very low. We will keep you updated on further changes
Our key messages for our customers are:
- Only travel if your journey is necessary
- Please be aware of others who may have a priority need to travel
- Look out for ‘Bus full due to social distancing’ messages on the destination display, which means the bus may not stop and be prepared to allow extra time or waiting to complete your journey
Bus services will have a key part to play as and when restrictions are progressively eased and we will continue to work with local authorities and our industry partners on the safe resumption of services, reflecting levels of demand, and in keeping with government and public health authority guidelines.