First Wessex announces timetable changes from Monday 23 March
- Bus operator will switch to a Saturday timetable during weekdays
- Weymouth Service 1’s last journey leaves Weymouth at 2315
- Service X54 will continue to run as per it's normal Monday to Friday timetable
- Contracted school services are currently scheduled to operate on Monday 23 March only
Bus operator First Wessex has announced that bus services will operate a Saturday timetable during the working week from Monday 23 March to ensure it sustains services for those needing to travel across the region.
In addition to the introduction of a Saturday schedule during weekdays, Service X54 will be suspended until further notice and Weymouth Service 1’s last journey of the day will leave Weymouth at 2315.
The company is committed to continuing services wherever possible so that those who need to make essential journeys, like health service and emergency workers, can continue to do so. The company is operating all contracted school services on Monday 23 March only while it is liaising with the Council for further guidance.
The announcement comes as the Government has advised against non-essential travel and contact as it introduces new measures to deal with the rising number of coronavirus cases.
Recent days have seen bus passenger numbers continue to reduce as people choose to stay at home or walk and cycle to their destinations. This is reflected across the transport sector worldwide, including commercial aviation, rail and tourism, all of which have had to review and reduce their operations in view of the fast-moving coronavirus outbreak.
First Wessex’s Managing Director Marc Reddy said: “The Government has made it clear that it now wants people, wherever possible, to work from home and avoid any non-essential travel and contact.
“The number of people travelling has reduced significantly and is continuing to diminish, making this an extremely dynamic situation which is changing day-to-day, hour-by-hour.
“To help our customers and give them clarity, we are reducing our Monday to Friday services to a Saturday timetable. Where we can, we will add extra buses into peak travel periods to ensure that workers are catered for.
“It’s important to emphasise that this is a fast-moving and unprecedented challenge. We are monitoring new developments as they happen and will respond accordingly to keep all our customers informed of any further changes.”
He added: “This is not a decision we take lightly. However, with more and more people choosing or being directed to stay at home, this is the most sensible approach to ensure services continue running and are as close to ‘business as usual’ as we can possibly make them.
“Customers can be assured we will endeavour to keep services running through this unprecedented time of uncertainty.”
Given the fast-changing nature of the situation it will be difficult to keep all our customer information channels updated with the latest information. The service information in the First Bus app for example may not reflect updated timetables so customers are advised to refer to the First Wessex website [https://www.firstgroup.com/wessex-dorset-south-somerset/news-and-service-updates/coronavirus-covid19-service-information ] for the most up-to-date service information, travel advice and information about Coronavirus.