What’s changing on Arriva buses in Hertfordshire ahead of September school return?

Arriva buses have introduced some changes to their school run services in the wake of COVID-19. Pict

Arriva buses have introduced some changes to their school run services in the wake of COVID-19. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Officials from bus operator Arriva have released more details on how they intend to keep schoolchildren who use the bus safe, as preparations for the return to school ramp up.

From September 1, some Arriva services will be reserved for school, sixth form and college pupils – and these will be marked clearly with an ‘S’ before their normal route number.

Pupils from any year group, and any school, can travel on these buses.

Arriva buses also undergo ‘enhanced touchpoint cleaning’ daily, and bus windows will be kept open where possible.

Contactless payment or tickets are recommended, as cash payments will only be accepted in “exceptional circumstances” and bus drivers will not be providing change.

Arriva has also taken steps to reassure parents that their children will be safe on their services.

Simon Finnie, Arriva’s area managing director, said: “If you need to travel on the same bus as pupils from another school then please sit with others from your own school, ideally from your own year group.

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“Where possible we are asking you to maintain social distancing, although capacity on these buses will be increased allowing students to sit next to each other and standing if necessary.

“We recommend that all pupils over the age of 11 wear a face covering, but exemptions apply. Pupils should also carry hand sanitiser with them and use it before getting on and off the bus wherever possible.”

Hertfordshire County Council has said it has plans to provide an additional 70 buses and coaches for the school run that will increase capacity on both public and educational-only bus routes.

A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire County Council added: “We have been in constant communication with commercial bus providers and Arriva are providing a number of duplicate buses.

“They have supplied us with the timetables which will be in operation for September 1 and these will be updated on websites (Arriva and Intalink) as soon as the final list is confirmed this week.

“Our strategy has been built around enhancing capacity on routes to ensure children who want to use a bus to travel to and from school can.

“We will be monitoring from day one where extra vehicles may be needed in addition to the 70 extra vehicles we will already be providing.

“We are also encouraging active travel, such as walking and cycling, where possible to minimise congestion.”

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