safer travel for all

4 months ago Thu 26th Mar 2020

infographic of ways to stay safe

updated Friday 10 July

We are doing all we can to keep our customers and employees safe and healthy, but there are things that you can do to help limit the spread of the Coronavirus when using our services.

The Department for Transport have issued guidance for customers which they published on the 12 May. A further version was issued on 15 June to include the new rule that you must wear a face covering when travelling on public transport with further updates since published. You can see their latest advice here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers and we have outlined the most important points below. 

Please remember to follow the government's advice to plan ahead, and consider walking or cycling as an alternative to using your car, or even getting the bus, to relieve pressure on the roads. 

following the safer travel guidance

You can help limit the spread of coronavirus by:

  • working from home where possible
  • shopping locally and less often
  • considering all other forms of transport, especially walking or cycling, before using public transport
  • avoiding the busiest times and routes
  • keeping your distance when your travel (2 metres apart where possible)
  • washing or sanitising your hands regularly - we have hand sanitiser units on all of our buses
  • wearing a face covering when you travel. This is a legal requirement - click here for more information.

You should not travel at all if you:

  • are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms
  • are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms or sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms
  • are clinically extremely vulnerable and cannot shield during your journey
  • have been advised by the NHS test and trace service that you should self-isolate

If you have any symptoms of coronavirus you should self-isolate at home and arrange to have a test to see if you have coronavirus.

If anyone in your household or support bubble has symptoms of coronavirus you should self-isolate. 

Areas under local lockdown

None of the areas that we operate in are under local lockdown. Should this change, we will update this web page. 

You should only travel into, out of and within areas under local lockdown if your travel is essential. For example:

  • to get to and from work, if you cannot work from home
  • to get essential food or medical supplies including click and collect services
  • to support someone who is vulnerable, if no-one else can do so
  • for exercise, locally where possible
  • to travel to and from others in your support bubble (where support bubbles are allowed)
  • to attend school or college or to accompany a child who is attending school or college where necessary and allowed

If you are in an area under local lockdown, you should stay at home as much as you can.

You should not travel into, out of or within areas under local lockdown for a holiday.

plan your journey

By planning your journey in advance, you should be able to limit contact with others and maintain social distance. 

Our buses are marked with the best seats to maintain full two metre social distancing, which is around 25% of the normal seat capacity. The latest “one metre plus” guidance means that with low rates of infection in most communities, the mandatory wearing of face coverings, and the short nature of many journeys, means that we can now allow the unmarked rows of seats to be used as well, up to 50% capacity. If you can travel outside of 'peak' commuter times, we still recommend that you do so. We are monitoring all journeys and using spare buses and drivers where possible to ensure that you can still travel on time and in maximum safety with full two metre distancing. 

It might take slightly longer than normal to travel with us due to social distancing measures. 

If you can:

  • travel at off-peak times - busy commuter times tend to be between 7.30am - 9.30am and 4.30pm - 6.30pm.
  • use quieter stations and stops – get off a stop early if it’s less busy
  • keep changes to a minimum, for example, between bus and train
  • walk for more of your journey, for example the first or last mile
  • book your tickets online in advance or pay by contactless

Consider making a list of items to take with you and minimise the luggage you take:

  • a face covering - for longer journeys, take more than one face covering and a plastic bag for used face coverings
  • a plan for the journey
  • tickets, contactless payment card or smartcard
  • phone, if needed for travel updates, tickets, contactless payments
  • hand sanitiser
  • essential medicines
  • tissues

If the bus is full, you may have to wait for the next one, however, we are aware that we do not want to leave vulnerable people behind so there may be occasions where the driver allows you to travel past the advisory capacity on the bus. We will also not leave people behind if it is the last bus of the day and the advisory capacity has been reached. Planning your journey in advance can help avoid these situations and we are also actively monitoring journeys to ensure that we can use spare buses and drivers where possible to ensure that buses do not become full.

On your journey

From 15 June, you must wear a face covering on public transport in England. You will be breaking the law if you fail to do so and could be fined.

Some people don’t have to wear a face covering for health, age or equality reasons. Click here for the latest information on face coverings and our buses.

Where possible, keep a 2 metre distance from others during your journey. We have signs on all our buses advising you where you should sit to help maintain social distance. The latest “one metre plus” guidance means that low rates of infection in most communities, the mandatory wearing of face coverings, and the short nature of many journeys, that we can now allow the unmarked rows of seats to be used as well, up to 50% capacity. If you can travel outside of 'peak' commuter times, we still recommend that you do so. We are monitoring all journeys and using spare buses and drivers where possible to ensure that you can still travel on time and in maximum safety with full two metre distancing. If, for some reason, you can’t keep a suitable distance from others, you should:

  • avoid physical contact
  • try to face away from other people
  • keep the time you spend near others as short as possible

Be aware of the surfaces you touch. Be careful not to touch your face. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when coughing or sneezing. Use the hand sanitiser units on board our buses to clean your hands before leaving.

Help keep yourself, other passengers and transport staff safe:

  • ensure you maintain social distancing, where possible, including at busy entrances, exits, under canopies and at bus stops
  • be prepared to queue 
  • wait for passengers to get off first before you board
  • wait for the next service if you cannot safely keep your distance on board - the driver should tell you if there is still space available based on our new, advisory capacity
  • avoid consuming food and drink on public transport where possible
  • respect other people’s space while travelling
  • be aware of pregnant, older and disabled people who may require a seat or extra space
  • be aware that not all disability is visible and some people may be exempt from wearing a face covering

Treat our employees with respect and follow their instructions. We have posters and guidance around our vehicles and bus stops advising you of the best way to queue, board, pay and sit to ensure everyone stays safe and healthy on our buses

you can still ask for help if you need it

If you need help when travelling, and want to know in advance what to do, contact our customer services team on 0118 959 4000 or email them [email protected]. Our customer services team are available Mondays to Fridays 9.00am - 5.30pm. Unfortunately, our bus shop is currently closed until further notice.

If you need assistance during your journey, our drivers will be happy to help. For disabled customers, our drivers will still be able to offer the same assistance that they always have such as putting out the ramp for wheelchairs or assisting you to get on the bus. We have issued all drivers reusable face coverings and disposable gloves to ensure that where they have to assist someone in closer proximity, they can do so as safely as possible.

If any problems arise or you feel ill during your journey, speak to the driver. In the case of an emergency, contact the emergency services as you normally would.

If you need help, try to keep a 2 metre distance from the driver. If this isn’t possible, try to avoid physical contact and keep the time you spend near staff as short as possible. As mentioned above, the drivers do have face coverings and disposable gloves in case they cannot assist you without breaking the social distancing rule.

children on our buses

Where travel is necessary, consider whether children could walk or cycle, accompanied by a responsible adult or carer, where appropriate.

Social distancing applies to children as well as adults. Children should keep a 2 metre distance from others who are not in their household or support bubble, while on our buses. Children and their parents/guardians (and people from the same household) are allowed to sit together on our buses regardless of the suggested seating arrangement for individuals. You should still aim to sit away from others and maintain a two metre gap though. If this isn’t possible children should:

  • avoid physical contact
  • face away from others
  • keep the time spent near others as short as possible

Children under the age of 3 should not wear face coverings. Children aged from 4 to 11 can wear face coverings, but they are not required to.

If you are the responsible adult or carer travelling with children, please help them:

  • minimise the surfaces they touch
  • maintain their distance from others
  • wear their face covering
  • wash their hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands as soon as possible after the end of your journey

completing your journey

When finishing your journey:

  • consider walking or cycling from the stop you arrived at
  • wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands as soon as possible - do the same for children who have travelled with you. This applies even if you have used the hand sanitiser provided on board all our buses.