Following the temporary suspension of services in April, megabus has announced that it will be restarting part of its network from 3 July as the government opens up additional parts of daily life, including many parts of the leisure and hospitality sector in England from 4 July.
In a press release, megabus said that a revised network will be introduced, serving key towns and cities across England including London, Bristol, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, Norwich, with connections to many other places, with safety measures in place to make sure that services areCOVID-19 secure.
The operator has carried out research with customers on how they plan to use services in the future, and found the majority of people saying they wanted to visit friends and family or take short breaks or holidays in the UK. Over 75% of people said they wanted to book a megabus trip immediately or within the near future.
Mark Venables, Managing Director of megabus, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be getting our coaches back on the road from 3 July, helping to connect people with friends and family, as well as taking people across the country for staycations and day trips.
“We’ve been carrying out research with our customers and from the overwhelming response we received, we know that people are very keen to get back on board our megabus services as quickly as possible. With the extra safety measures we have to make sure that our services are COVID-19 secure, and with customers following all the government guidance in place, people can have confidence in travelling with us.
“Our team of drivers are eager to get back behind the wheel and out on the road and I would like to thank all of our staff and customers for their continued patience, support and resilience.
“The timetable we are putting in place will provide access to key cities and towns right across the country. Due to social distancing, there will be reduced capacity on coaches, so we’d urge people to plan ahead and book their journey with us early.
“Public transport will continue to play a crucial role in the country’s recovery ahead. As well as helping to restart our economy, it is vital in bringing normality back to many areas of our daily lives, keeping families and communities connected and contributing towards a safer, cleaner and healthier nation.”
megabus coaches are all being deep-cleaned and will undergo stringent checks in advance of going into service. There will be a continued enhanced cleaning regime which includes daily and in-service cleaning of all coaches with a government-recommended sanitiser, with a particular focus on key touch points, and additional in service cleaning where possible. Anti-bacterial stations will be available on board all coaches.
Drivers will be provided with extra cleaning supplies to help keep coaches clean during the day, and all drivers will be equipped with face masks, face visors, gloves and individual hand sanitiser for their use. Filter changing schedules on air conditioning units will be increased. The operator also reminded passengers that face coverings must be worn by law on all public transport in England.
Meanwhile in Scotland, Stagecoach has confirmed that it will start to gradually increase bus service levels in Scotland from Monday 29 June in line with the Scottish Government’s plans to re-open more parts of daily life. providing around double the number of services that have been running as part of the emergency timetables in place since March.
Bus services will be gradually increased, with plans to resume full timetables later in the summer, including Citylink and megabus coach services within Scotland. The step up plans follow the announcement by the Scottish Government of new restart funding for the country’s bus network.
Sam Greer, Regional Director Scotland for Stagecoach, said: “We remain extremely proud of the fantastic efforts of all of our employees across the country in recent months. Our people have made a huge contribution to the national effort and we’d like to thank every one of them and our customers for their support.
“Buses will continue to play a crucial role in the country’s recovery ahead. As well as helping to restart our economy, they are vital in bringing normality back to many areas of our daily lives. They keep people connected and have a major role in delivering safer, cleaner and healthier communities.
“We are pleased to be starting to step up our services to support the gradual re-opening of aspects of daily life across Scotland. We have a number of extra measures in place to make sure that our services are Covid-19 secure and to help people plan their journeys and use our services safely.
“In line with government regulations, face coverings are now mandatory on all bus services, and this will be enforced by Police Scotland. We are reminding people that they need to wear a face covering when travelling on our services, and we are confident the vast majority of people will do the right thing to ensure the safety of themselves, our employees and other customers.”
All buses will continue to have a protective screen to provide a physical barrier between the driver and passenger. In line with government advice, as drivers are behind a protective screen, they do not need to wear a face covering. However, should the driver need to leave their cab to assist a customer, they will wear a face covering.