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‘Buses are safe’: bosses say it’s time for more travellers

PUBLISHED: 06:30 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:02 10 July 2020

Chris Speed head of operations at First Eastern Counties. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Chris Speed head of operations at First Eastern Counties. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Bus operators say the government should move its advice away from telling people to largely avoid public transport as services return to normal.

Jeremy Cooper, Managing Director, Go-East Anglia. Photo: Go-East AngliaJeremy Cooper, Managing Director, Go-East Anglia. Photo: Go-East Anglia

FirstGroup has urged the government to stop encouraging people to avoid trains and buses.

Matthew Gregory, chief executive, claimed it is time to “move away” from appealing to passengers not to use public transport for non-essential journeys.

And Chris Speed, head of operations at First Eastern Counties, added buses were a “safe environment” due to all the measures put in place.

He said: “With all the safety measures that have been introduced on bus with social distancing, additional cleaning processes and a legal requirement being introduced to wear a face covering unless a person is exempt, it is a safe environment to travel in to get around the city and county, so we are starting to welcome our customers back onto our buses.”

Charles Sanders, managing director of Sanders Coaches. Picture: Mark Bullimore.Charles Sanders, managing director of Sanders Coaches. Picture: Mark Bullimore.

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The managing director of Konectbus, Jeremy Cooper, also said it was time to change the emphasis on messaging, away from avoiding public transport to one of “travel safely”, particularly as most bus routes had resumed normal service.

Mr Cooper added: “We continue to support social distancing by providing clear information on buses that enables adherence to guidelines. Along with the enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of buses, frequent hand washing, cashless payments (where possible) and wearing face coverings while on board, customers can travel in safety and with confidence.”

Meanwhile, Charles Sanders, managing director of Sanders Coaches, said it was “difficult” to know whether people should use buses for non-essential travel.

A new Greater Anglia train arriving at London Liverpool Street. Pic: Greater Anglia.A new Greater Anglia train arriving at London Liverpool Street. Pic: Greater Anglia.

He said: “I don’t know and I don’t think we know enough about coronavirus transmissions yet. We are just sticking to what the government guidelines and health experts advise.”

However, Mr Sanders spoke of his concern over cuts to government funding which has enabled his business to survive.

He said: “If there is no funding and also no return in the number of passengers we would only last a few weeks. At the moment we’re running on a 17pc capacity and no business can last on that.”

Greater Anglia said they would not comment on allowing non-essential travel but were following government guidelines.


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