From today, First Cymru will increase services on several routes across its network in an effort to ensure key workers are able to travel to work.
At the same time, increased social distancing measures will be implemented to ensure the safety of passengers and staff, including a reduction in the number of passengers that can be carried down to a capacity of 25%.
Passengers will begin to see posters and capacity stickers appearing on the buses, these show the existing and newly introduced safety measures. Customers are advised to take note of the ways in which they can help, by ensuring the windows are left open; allowing constant air flow. Sashes have been placed on seats to show where passengers can now sit to ensure social distancing. Eating and drinking is no longer allowed on our vehicles, and passengers are reminded to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before and after using public transport. Once a bus has reached its 25% capacity it will show on the front of the bus as FULL. The bus will only stop at bus stops to allow passengers off, from then on it will there will be a one-on, one-off process.
Jane Reakes-Davies, Interim Managing Director for First Cymru, said: “Our service network has been designed around the needs of key workers, ensuring they are able to travel to and from work. From the 1st June we are increasing our service level, as we introduce social distancing measures across our fleet. The capacity of our vehicles will be 25%, to ensure the 2-metre distance between passengers. This means fewer people will be able to travel on the vehicle. To compensate for this, we are allocating double decker buses on our busiest routes and increasing the service frequency on others. We hope that this means, when a bus is full, passengers will not have significant waiting times for the next bus. Our intention is not to leave passengers behind, but we are listening to our customers who are supportive of increased social distancing measures. We are in unchartered territory, and this is a learning experience for us all. We will be monitoring our routes daily. Our drivers will be giving us on-the-ground feedback so that we can quickly respond to any areas across our network that may need more resource.”
Jane added: “We ask our customers to consider the times of day they choose to travel on our buses. During the hours of 11am – 3pm there is usually less demand, similarly our busiest days of the week are Monday and Friday, by avoiding the peak times our passengers can help give priority to our key workers. In addition, by travelling off-peak, passengers will have more chance of boarding the first bus that arrives, and the vehicles should have fewer passengers travelling on them. We also advise that customers leave more time for travelling, as you may not be able to get on the first bus that arrives.”
She said: “Our wonderful team of drivers and the engineering, cleaning and support teams behind them are continuing to work hard at keeping bus services running and as safe as possible, just as they have been doing since the start of this pandemic. The patience and understanding of our customers will help us in managing on-board capacity during these challenging times. It’s important we all look after each other.”
People are advised to check First Cymru’s website for the latest up-to-date timetable information and to follow Welsh Government advice and stay at home, work from home where possible and travel should be for essential journeys only.