Stagecoach in South Wales has confirmed it will be re-introducing some Sunday services from 6 September and increasing most bus service levels in Wales from 7 September to help get the country moving as lockdown restrictions continue to ease. Bus services around Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Monmouthshire will be increasing from 13 September.
From 7 September, bus network timetables in Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Blackwood and Caerphilly will return to around 80% of pre-COVID-19 levels with a further uplift from 13 September with the increase of bus services around Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Monmouthshire. Details of the new timetables can be found at www.stagecoachbus.com.
Stagecoach has put in place extensive enhanced measures to keep buses clean and passengers and staff safe and ensure people can feel confident about using buses, Britain’s most important transport mode.
Engineers and drivers are returning to work to undertake vital preparations to ensure the bus fleet is ready for the ramp up in services. Buses which have been parked up during recent weeks will all be deep-cleaned and will undergo stringent checks in advance of going into service.
Stagecoach’s enhanced cleaning regime includes at least daily cleaning of all buses with a COVID-19 killing sanitiser, with a particular focus on key touch points, and additional daily cleaning for schools buses. All buses in South Wales have been fitted with hand sanitiser dispensers.
All buses will continue to have a protective screen to provide a physical barrier between the driver and passenger. Face masks are available for drivers, and in line with government advice, Stagecoach is encouraging passengers to wear a 3 layer face covering, unless they are exempt and to buy tickets online or on the app in advance or use contactless payment or exact fare only on board. Journey assistance cards are available online for those who cannot wear a face covering, to show the driver when boarding. Social distancing measures are now in place on all bus services, which means that each individual bus has around 40% of normal passenger capacity.
The increase in bus services from September will ensure that passengers can have confidence in using the bus to get to work, education and connect them to leisure facilities as they re-open.
Bus planners have worked hard to ensure that the new timetables meet the needs of local communities and help to support the national effort. Stagecoach is continuing to work with local authorities to ensure the bus fleet is deployed where it is needed most in accordance with the Welsh Government criteria for increasing service levels.
Nigel Winter, Managing Director of Stagecoach in South Wales said: “We are hugely proud of the fantastic efforts of all of our staff throughout the pandemic and more recently in getting buses ready to return to service as bus service levels increase. Our own key workers have made a huge contribution and we’d like to thank every one of them and our customers for supporting our staff throughout the pandemic.
"Buses are going to continue to play a crucial role in the country’s recovery ahead. As well as helping restart our economy, they are vital in bringing normality back to many areas of our daily lives. They keep families and communities connected and have a major role in delivering a safer, cleaner and healthier country.
“The Stagecoach team are proud to serve our communities in South Wales and we are delighted to be stepping up our services from 6 September. It means we can provide significantly more regular services and more capacity overall as people start to return to their everyday lives. We will continue to work with Welsh Government and local authorities to ensure we target services where they are needed the most.
“The safety of our customers and employees remains our top priority. With the extensive measures we have taken and the support of our passengers, they can be confident our buses will be clean, safe and ready to go."