Suffolk bus companies operating as normal at present despite coronavirus crisis
PUBLISHED: 19:00 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:15 18 March 2020
The two largest bus companies operating in Suffolk are continuing to operate as normal – but have taken extra measures in a bid to keep passengers and staff safe.
First Eastern Counties and Ipswich Buses are continuing to operate as normal – although both companies are aware that the situation could change.
Steve Bryce, the general manager of Ipswich Buses, said: “At present our services are operating normally although the number of passengers is considerably down as you would expect.
“We are doing a great deal to ensure our vehicles are safe. As well as the normal clean we do every night, the buses are also being cleaned all over with anti-bacterial cleaner – especially those metal surfaces that people touch when they’re getting on and off.
He said the company had its normal number of people off sick at present and buses were operating to the normal timetable – although that could change if many staff went off sick over the next few weeks.
“We shall do everything we can to maintain our normal services. If we do have to withdraw services because of a lack of staff then we shall tell people through the media.”
First Group has published a national statement about its services during the coronavirus crisis – and a local spokesman said services in Suffolk and Norfolk were still operating as normal at present.
The company statement says: To help keep you safe we’re taking the following action: “Stepping up our cleaning regimes including regular disinfection of all grab rails and poles, entrance door handles, window ledges and other touchpoints
“Encouraging good hand hygiene amongst all our staff.
“Displaying NHS advice on our buses wherever it is practical to do so.”
Both companies receive payments from Suffolk County Council to cover the cost of free bus passes for older passengers.
That money will still be paid – but the number of people using age-related free bus passes has fallen very substantially because of the government policy to encourage those aged over 70 to stay at home and not mix with other people in a bid to save them from the dangers of contracting coronavirus.