COACH HIRE SPECIALISTS

Coronavirus - PASSENGER information & updates

Page last updated: 21/06/2020

During this unprecedented time, we have enforced social distancing on board our buses to help keep everyone safe. We continue to follow Government advice closely and you can find the latest updates on this page. Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we work together to keep everyone safe.

Service Updates

Local Bus Services

We are operating a normal timetable across all our local bus services. Social distancing is active and capacity has been reduced to 5 or 6 per vehicle (1 in 4 seats being available). You should only travel if you’re journey is essential.

School Bus Services

Suspended, we will update in due course.

Private Coach Hire

Once restricitons have been lifted, social distancing is predicted to around for a long time after. This has reduced vehicle capacity to 25% and should be considered on any existing or future bookings within 2020. We relaxed our cancellation policy to 24 hours prior in March, April & May. However, our normal terms and conditions have resumed from 1st June.

Keeping Safe

We will be operating a reduced capacity with around 1 in 4 seats being available. It’s likely you will begin to see ‘Sorry, Bus Full’ on some services reaching their revised capacities more quickly.

If your waiting at a bus stop and the bus drives past – it is likely the bus is full. If the bus does stop, our drivers will only allow one person to board for every person that gets off, so you may need to be prepared to wait or make alternative arrangements for your journey.

You will notice on board some further measures in place to help you adhere to social distancing including:

face coverings

You must wear a face covering when using public transport in order to prevent the transmission of the virus.

For children under 5 years of age or those with particular health conditions who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness or impairment or disability or without severe distress an exemption applies.

To make your journey easier, you can apply for the Thistle Assistance Card for free. Thistle Assistance is an initiative from the Scottish Government to help you feel safer and more comfortable when using public transport. You may prefer more time to get to your seat. You may like your driver to speak more slowly and clearly. Thistle Assistance’s card and app let transport staff know in an easy and subtle way what extra support you’d like. It will also help us understand if you are exempt from wearing a face covering. As well as obtaining the personalised card, you can download onto an app. To apply and for more information, see: thistlesassistance.com

You may remove your face covering if you need to take medication or to eat or drink where reasonably necessary. You should remove your face covering temporarily to comply with a request by a relevant person, such as a ticket examiner who needs to check identity in respect, for example, of a concessionary card.

You are expected to provide your own face covering. A face covering does not have to be a surgical or other medical grade mask but must be a facial covering of the mouth and nose. Face coverings worn over the mouth and nose may include a scarf, face mask, protective visor, or any other type of appropriate covering. It will not be acceptable to pull a shirt, blouse, jumper or coat up to try and cover your nose and mouth. If you choose to wear a face visor it must cover the nose and mouth completely.

When applying or removing the covering, it is important that you wash your hands first and avoid touching your face. After each use, you must wash a fabric face covering at 60 degrees centigrade or dispose of it safely.

If you are not wearing a face covering without a reasonable excuse, you will be in breach of the law and may be liable, on summary conviction, to pay a fine.

Further guidance on face-covering is available here.

What else are we doing?

What else can you do?

Only travel by bus if your journey is essential

Plan your travel in advance, avoiding peak periods

Wear a face covering when on board, this becomes mandatory from Monday 22nd June

Sit in a window seat, leaving an empty row of seats in front and behind

On our double deckers, consider sitting upstairs (if you are able)

Pay with contactless

Use the correct change if you must pay by cash, we don’t give change

No eating or drinking while on board

Leave windows open to aid ventilation

Please also keep up-to-date with the latest coronavirus information from the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland.

In addition to the above, please remember to:

FAQS

1. How will social distancing work on board the bus?

In accordance with Government guidance, our buses will be operating at reduced capacity with around 1 in 4 seats being available. You must ensure you keep 2 metres apart at bus stops, when boarding/alighting (let passengers off first) and on board. 

There may be situations where you can’t keep a suitable distance from people, for example when boarding or alighting, on busier services, at busier times of day and when walking through interchanges. In addition to the guidance above, in these cases, you should:

* Avoid physical contact

* Try to face away from other people

* Keep the time you spend near others as short as possible

* Be aware of the surfaces you touch and be careful not to touch your face

* Wait for passengers to get off first before you board

* Please respect other peoples' space while travelling

2. Is the driver responsible for social distancing?

No. The seating measures we have introduced are advisory. We will not be asking the drivers to enforce but to report any breaches to the company who will consider taking further action. 

3. What happens when the bus is full?

If the bus is full (by displaing a message on destination screen, "Sorry, Bus Full"), it will not stop even when flagged down. It will only stop if passengers require to disembark. For every 1 passenger that disembarks, only 1 can board. If the driver has a situation where only 1 passenger can board but has 4 at a bus stop, the passengers must decide who gets priority (not the driver). This is by far from an ideal situation but we unforunatelty have no choice due to social distancing. This is the same procedure for all modes of public transport. You should carefully plan and think if your journey is essential or using other modes of transport. See advice from the Scottish Government "Advice on how to travel safely"

4. Will key workers get priority?

No. This is not something we can control and we are consistently promoting this message that our network should only for used for essential journeys. 

5. Do I need to wear a facemask? Will you provide?

This becomes mandatory from Monday 22nd June. You will have to provide your own mask and hand sanitiser. For more information, see "Advice on how to travel safely" on the Scottish Government's website.

6. Does social distancing effect my ability to board in a wheelchair?

A wheelchair user will be prioritised as much as possible but still cannot board if the bus is full. The wheelchair space is counted as 1 seat as there would normally be a flip down seat allocated as available in the overall count.

7. Will you put on larger buses to allow more seating or increase the frequency?

Most of our routes are rural and have limited access for larger vehicles. We are unable to increase the frequency as we operate most of our services on behalf of SPT (Strathclyde Partnership for Transport). If we determine a need for further seating, we will approach SPT and the Government to support this requirement if possible. 

8. Why does the driver not have to wear a face mask?

Our drivers do not have to wear a face mask when inside their cab behind a protective screen. However, they must wear in the passenger area of the bus or at a terminus/bus stop/station.

SUPPORTING OUR INDUSTRY & WORKERS

On Tuesday 5th May, we joined our colleagues in the Bus & Coach industry to thank all the bus workers during this difficult time. We said and continue to say thank you to all of our drivers, engineers, cleaners and supporting staff working the front line and behind the scenes to provide essential transport.

Below are some pictures we snapped during the day of our own workers: