First Solent outlines steps it has taken to keep drivers and bus passengers safe
Bus operator First Solent has made public the extensive steps it has taken to protect staff and customers while service levels are reduced in response to a 91% reduction in passengers travelling as the public heeds government restrictions to stay at home and avoid travel unless essential.
Managing Director for First Solent Marc Reddy said: “The safety and welfare of our passengers and drivers during this unprecedented pandemic is our utmost priority; it’s now even more important than ever before. That’s why we’ve been working tirelessly and have introduced an extensive range of robust measures based on government guidance and industry best practice to keep our customers and colleagues as safe as possible while we deliver this essential service.”
FirstBus was one of the first large bus companies to issue every single driver with hand sanitisers/hand gel as well as gloves as part of their personal protective equipment (PPE). And in accordance with current government guidance it increased its vehicle cleaning efforts with daily disinfection of the driver cab and all grab rails, poles and other touchpoints.
In fact, from the moment drivers and other staff arrive to the depot, at every stage and in every work area, we’ve introduced specific social distancing and other evidence-based measures to do whatever possible to keep our employees safe.
All of First Solent buses are fitted with screens between drivers and customers, which (with a small modification) act as a barrier to minimise the risk of transmission. Depending on the layout of the vehicle, seats closest to the driver are taped off as a further measure to keep drivers safe. The company is also encouraging customers to pay with contactless bank cards or on the app where possible.
Cllr Stagg, Cabinet Member for Transport and Transportation, Portsmouth City Council said: "It's great that First Solent has put robust measures in place to ensure the safety of both drivers and passengers and to see their proactive focus on providing hand sanitisers and gloves for the drivers as part of their personal protective equipment. It is commendable that they are encouraging passengers to pay with contactless bank cards or mobile wherever possible to minimise the amount of cash they have to handle. We are really grateful to all who are following Government instructions to stay home to save lives. Please only travel if absolutely essential."
The bus company is keeping its safety measures under constant review and will introduce further measures as and when government guidance or circumstances change.