CT4N to reintroduce bus services

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Following a safety review, CT4N has now started a phased reintroduction of its services, which began on Monday 20 April. Following two cases of COVID-19 amongst its driving staff and with concern for staff welfare the management of CT4N suspended its operations to give it time to review all its sanitation and safety arrangements, a decision which was supported by the RMT union, which has been campaigning nationally on bus driver safety.

CT4N Managing Director Ian Combellack said “I am very glad to be able to announce that, after a thorough review of all our processes, we are reopening for business. Whilst it was confirmed that we were meeting government and Public Health England guidance for workplaces, we have identified a number of areas where we can go beyond these. Our drivers are key front line workers and we need to provide reassurance to them and our passengers that we have done all that we can to reduce the risk of infection.”

CT4N is gradually reintroducing its services following their suspension after a number of drivers contracted COVID-19

The operator said that most of the changes introduce more detailed instructions around the existing cleaning processes on buses and at the depots, bolstered by the purchase of three disinfectant fogging machines to enhance the daily deep clean of each bus. It will ensure additional social distancing on buses by closing off the tip-up seats behind the driver, although that bay will still be available for wheelchair users. Where any concerns about infection arise, the company said new quarantine areas have been created for the vehicles involved with separate arrangements for cleaning and safe disposal of potentially contaminated material.

When the services were suspended, emergency discussions were held with the City and County Councils and some temporary arrangements were put in place. In particular, CT4N emphasised that it is very grateful to Nottingham City Transport for stepping up and providing cover for the Medilink service. Ian continued: “We have been keeping the authorities informed of progress with the review and are now discussing with them a priority timetable for service reintroduction, which will also include some school services. In the first instance we have asked for volunteers from our drivers and many have come forward letting us know they want to play their part in supporting the fight against COVID-19.”

The first services to be reinstated were route 18, which will operate hourly; East Midlands Gateway Shuttle; Notts County Council school services – 601, 606, 611 and 710, and; the demand responsive Easylink service. From Monday 27 April, Locallink services L2, L4 and L9, Worklink service W1, Notts County Council services L73, L74 and L75 and Derbyshire County Council services 14 and 29 are also expected to return. Full details can be found on the CT4N website at www.ct4n.co.uk via social media.

Ian concluded: “We regret having had to suspend these important services but remain convinced this was the right thing to do. Our drivers, like other key workers, do face risks every day and we have to minimise these. We call on the government to recognise this and to ensure that bus drivers are prioritised for virus testing when that is rolled out. We also support the Mayor of London’s call for government to re-examine the case for asking people using public transport to wear basic masks to reduce the risks of their infecting others.”