First West of England is reassuring customers that there will be no major changes to services as England adjusts to its second lockdown.
First will continue to provide services on key routes to enable the public to get to work, schools, colleges and Universities, and to essential shops and services. It is constantly reviewing timetables to ensure services are provided where they are needed most, and reminding customers of key changes and innovations that have been introduced to ensure travelling by bus is as safe and convenient as possible.
- Wear a face covering: You must wear a face covering for your entire journey unless you meet the exemption criteria set by the Government. Exemptions for the use of face coverings will apply to those with certain health conditions, disabled people and children aged under 11.
- Keep your distance: Before travelling, customers are advised to check seat availability on the First Bus App. Once on board, social distancing is still in operation, with the available seats clearly marked out to help people keep a safe distance.
- Keep windows open: In line with Government guidance to increase ventilation on board, customers are kindly requested to keep windows open so please make sure you dress warmly. If you see a closed window, please open it
- Avoid cash if possible: Booking advance tickets on the App or using the new contactless Tap & Cap service in Bristol means you can get on the bus quickly without asking or waiting for a ticket and avoid a build of people behind waiting to board. Across the whole region, Express Mode for Apple Pay means customers with Apple Pay can now pay using their iPhone or Apple Watch without the need to wake or unlock their device, open an app or use Face ID or Touch ID. For customers using Face ID on iPhone, Express Mode has the additional advantage of allowing customers to keep their face covering on while boarding the bus.
- Enhanced cleaning: All vehicles continue to be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each shift with an anti-viral spray and throughout the day on high touch areas.
- Supporting the national effort: We would like to encourage all customers travelling with us to download the NHS Covid-19 Track and Trace app. Anyone aged 16 or over who lives in England or Wales can use the app. It allows you to report symptoms, order a Coronavirus test and check into venues.
Managing Director James Freeman said: “As a vital public service, we continue to be subsidised by central Government which allows us to keep the buses on the road and keep the region moving in terms of essential travel, especially for those who don’t have cars.
“Since we came out of the first lockdown we have been flexing our services to ensure we are providing buses where they are needed most and we will continue to do that during the second lockdown: for instance there were a handful of alterations on Sunday 8th to reflect this.
“Social distancing remains a challenge but one which will be with us for some time to come, I believe, and we are grateful that our customers are complying with this requirement both at stops and once on board. The wearing of face coverings is something we must stress remains really important, if not for your own sake then for your fellow passengers. Whilst our drivers are doing their best to ensure compliance, it is not their job to police this so we really do urge our customers to be compliant where this is concerned unless they have a valid exemption. We welcome the introduction of Covid-19 marshals by Bristol City Council who will be helping us to keep compliance as high as possible.
“As the colder weather comes in, we know customers will feel this but it is really important that we keep our vehicles well ventilated. We politely ask everyone not to close the windows as we need to do everything we can to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Finally I want to thank all our customers for their co-operation during these challenging times, all of us – especially our drivers for whom this has been a big culture change - really do appreciate it.”