Extra buses announced for pupils returning to school during coronavirus pandemic
Extra buses are being provided so pupils can travel to school safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
As pupils prepare to return to school after months of learning from home, it has been announced that extra bus services will run across Tyne and Wear.
Supported by Government funding, the additional buses will enable social distancing, allowing pupils and other passengers to travel separately.
The extra buses will run on on top of normal services and dedicated home-school routes.
Despite the provision of extra buses, demand for home-school public transport is expected to be lower than in previous years, as families choose other options including walking and cycling for shorter journeys.
Local authorities and Nexus have worked closely with the region’s three main bus companies – Arriva, Go North East and Stagecoach – and in partnership with schools to prepare for the new term.
Martijn Gilbert, chair of the regional bus operator association; NE-Bus and managing director of Go North East, said: “Bus operators and coach companies are meeting the challenge to provide as many extra vehicles and drivers as we can to help support social distancing and allow pupils and other passengers to travel separately.
“All our vehicles are cleaned daily with clear signage and seats adapted to help maintain distancing on board, whatever the reason you need to travel.”
Nexus has said it will be putting on 100 extra buses for pupils and urged families to plan their travel in advance.
Martin Kearney, Chief Operating Officer at Nexus said: “We know parents will have more interest than ever in how their children get to and from school following lockdown.
“We have made extensive plans to make sure pupils can travel comfortably, providing more than 100 extra buses so pupils can travel in line with the latest public health advice on Covid-19.”
Here is everything you need to know about the bus services:
Can I pay using cash?
Pupils using public transport can use cash but should have the exact change to make their journey wherever possible.
Do pupils need to wear face masks on services?
Pupils over the age of 11 should wear a face covering unless they are exempt from doing so.
All passengers should follow standard public health advice washing hands thoroughly throughout the day and not travelling if they have symptoms of Covid-19.
Other passengers are advised to adjust their journey times to avoid school travel times if possible.
Which routes will the extra services cover?
There will be extra buses on many services going to or near schools, following established routes.
These will include buses on busy routes so pupils can travel separately to other passengers.
Nexus and bus operators will be meeting daily to react to demand and move vehicles around the region to respond to areas of highest demand.
More details can be found on the Nexus website: www.nexus.org.uk/covid-secure