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Time to get back on the bus Norfolk

13 August 2020

As further lockdown measures are eased, following the changes to guidance for the shielding community – and more people return to work Norfolk County Council is reassuring residents that it is ok to get back on the bus. 

Public transport companies have been operating throughout the coronavirus lockdown to allow people to make essential journeys and key workers to continue travelling to and from their jobs. But even as things start to ease passenger numbers remain low across Norfolk and there is concern that residents are avoiding using buses for the wrong reasons.

Councillor Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for Highways and Infrastructure said:

“When restrictions started to lift the message was for people to avoid public transport – this was to avoid overcrowding and to allow services time to start travelling in a safe and managed way. As things start to lift further, we want to reassure residents that passenger safety is an absolute priority for all of our bus companies and as long as passengers follow instructions given then travelling by bus is safe. We encourage Norfolk residents to get back on the bus.”

All bus services are now up and running – some to revised timetables which can be checked on the service websites. In addition, five out of the six park and ride sites are now open again to allow more workers to commute by bus and to give shoppers the convenience of travelling direct to key city centre locations.

Dr Louise Smith, Director of Public Health at Norfolk County Council, said:

“As long as we follow all the guidance and advice whilst travelling on public transport, the risk of catching Coronavirus is relatively low. We must wear our face coverings at all times, continue to keep a safe distance from those around us and make sure that we wash our hands or use hand sanitiser before and after travelling.”

“Anyone experiencing one or more of the Coronavirus symptoms should not travel but should self-isolate along with their household immediately and book a free test by calling 119 or visit www.nhs.co.uk/coronavirus . Symptoms include a high temperature, continuous cough or change to or loss of sense of smell or taste. We all must work together to protect ourselves, protect others and protect Norfolk.”

Bus companies across Norfolk welcome this reassurance to residents and said:

“We believe that the measures we have taken to enhance cleaning and manage social distancing will make people feel safe when they use our buses. With car traffic largely at normal levels we want people to feel confident about taking the option of using the bus or Park & Ride to reduce congestion.” Jeremy Cooper, Managing Director Konectbus.

“We’re Covid compliant so on the bus be reliant.” Charles Sanders, Sanders Coaches

“Throughout the pandemic we have introduced several measures on buses to help keep people stay safe, such as social distancing, reducing capacities, additional cleaning processes and with the governments ruling, stating that everyone should wear a face covering when using public transport unless they have an exemption, bus travel is safe to use. It is encouraging to see people having the confidence to get back to using our services, we are monitoring patronage daily and will be increasing services and frequencies as and when demand is required.” Steve Wickers, Managing Director at First Eastern Counties said;”

Although at the moment capacity isn’t an issue in Norfolk – come September when the schools return we will see pupils using public transport each day to get to school. With this in mind people are encouraged to be flexible about when they travel and avoid travelling 7.30 - 9am and 3 - 4.30pm wherever possible. Passengers are also advised to plan their journeys by checking the operator’s website before traveling for any updates on available capacity.

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