Timetables to run at 70% of pre-COVID-19 levels next month – then to 80% of pre-COVID-19 levels by mid June
Across England, the Stagecoach Group has today confirmed it will be increasing bus service levels from the 01 June. Its aim is to get the country moving as lockdown restrictions start to ease.
Emergency bus timetables have been in place since March to help key workers travel to and from work and for other essential journeys. This has seen services running to Sunday frequencies with peak hour journeys. In some cases, at a lower level than the usual Sunday service offerings.
Following the announcement by HM Government of a new bus, tram and light rail restart programme, the Stagecoach Group has confirmed plans for a phased step up in services as more people return to work and other parts of daily life re-open.
From the 01 June, bus network timetables in Greater Manchester will initially return to around 70% of pre-COVID-19 levels with a further uplift to around 80% planned by mid-June. For example, the 346 route may run every 20 minutes in the daytime – 75% of the usual 15 minute frequency. Instead of every ten minutes, the 219 could be running every 15 minutes. Details of the new timetables can be found at stagecoach.com/coronavirus.
Stagecoach Group, like many of Britain’s bus operators great and small, has put in place extensive enhanced measures to keep buses clean and passengers and staff safe. Ultimately, this ensures people can feel confident about using buses, Britain’s most important mode of public transport.
Thousands of engineers and drivers are returning to work to undertake vital preparations to ensure the bus fleet is ready for the ramp up in services. Buses which have been parked up during recent weeks will all be deep-cleaned and will undergo stringent checks in advance of going into service.
Stagecoach’s enhanced cleaning regime includes at least daily cleaning of all buses with a government-recommended sanitiser. There will be a particular focus on key touch points, with additional in-service cleaning where possible.
All buses will continue to have a protective screen to provide a physical barrier between the driver and passenger. Face masks are available for drivers, and in line with government advice, Stagecoach is encouraging passengers to wear a face covering. Social distancing measures are now in place on all bus services, which means that each individual bus has around 20% of normal passenger capacity.
Stagecoach has also issued a ten-point guide to help people understand the measures in place and to help them continue to safely use bus services. You can find it on https://www.stagecoachbus.com/news/national/2020/may/10-point-guide-to-travelling-safely
The 01 June’s changes will ensure that passengers can have confidence in using the bus to get to work, education and connect them to leisure facilities as they re-open. Bus planners have worked hard to ensure that the new timetables meet the needs of local communities and help to support the national effort. Stagecoach is continuing to work with local authorities to ensure the bus fleet is deployed where it is needed most.
Elisabeth Tasker, Managing Director of Stagecoach Manchester, said: “We are hugely proud of the fantastic efforts of all of our employees in recent months. Our own key workers have made a huge contribution to the national effort and we’d like to thank every one of them and our customers for their support
“Buses are going to continue to play a crucial role in the country’s recovery ahead. As well as helping restart our economy, they are vital in bringing normality back to many areas of our daily lives. They keep families and communities connected and have a major role in delivering a safer, cleaner and healthier country.
“The Stagecoach team are proud to serve our communities in Greater Manchester and we are delighted to be stepping up our services from 1 June. It means we can provide significantly more regular services and more capacity overall as people start to return to their everyday lives. We will continue to work with government and local authorities to ensure we can target services where they are needed most.
“The safety of our customers and employees remains our top priority. With the extensive measures we have taken and the support of our passengers, they can be confident our buses will be clean, safe and ready to go.”
An EM60 Presentation, 27 May 2020.