Go North East, the region’s largest bus operator, is taking further steps to make sure its buses are the cleanest and safest they can be during the coronavirus pandemic.

Right from the start of Covid-19, the bus operator implemented extra cleaning regimes, with special measures on board to protect customers and colleagues and have flexed its services to meet demand, with 60 extra buses now running at peak times to help with school movements and other busy services.

As the bus operator continues to keep abreast of the latest developments, including the local lockdown and now the new tiered system, along with emerging data about infection rates and new tools and products, it has challenged itself on what more it can do.

The company also championed the recent all-operator ‘Face Covering Awareness Week’ and put boxes of masks on board all its buses to help improve compliance. It is now working with the local police to share non-compliance data, although generally wearing rates have been in the high 90 percent range.

Hand sanitiser units are now being fitted on board all the company’s vehicles for customers to use upon boarding and exiting the vehicle, following an earlier trial on school bus services.

The company has also changed its cleaning products as new improved solutions have come onto the market and it is now using X-Mist™ to deodorise and sanitise its bus and coach interiors on a weekly basis across its 650-strong vehicle fleet.

The UK manufactured broad-spectrum germicide solution is specifically formulated, tested, approved and certified to kill coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) – the cause of COVID-19 and meets British Standards BS EN 14476, BS EN 1276 and BS EN 1650.

Commenting on the fitment of hand sanitiser units and the use of X-Mist™, Go North East’s managing director, Martijn Gilbert, said: “It’s a mammoth task fitting and keeping hand sanitiser units topped up and we’re one of the few public transport operators of our size to fit them to every vehicle, but given the recent local lockdown, the new local Covid alert level tiers and news that some parts of our region are experiencing high infection rates, we have challenged ourselves on what else we can do to make our bus network even cleaner and give some added reassurance to our customers.

“Whilst we have been adopting additional cleaning and using fogging equipment, X-Mist™ will enable us to take this process to the next level with a more efficient and easier, yet more comprehensive, supplement to our traditional cleaning regime to further improve cleanliness and covid-secure standards on board our buses.

“It is vital that we give more people the confidence to return to using public transport if we are serious about easing congestion, improving road safety and reducing pollution across our towns and cities.

“There is no evidence of any increase rate of infection from using public transport, in fact the efforts of everyone to enhance cleaning regimes and customers wearing face coverings is making it safer than ever so now is the time to get back on board for cleaner, safer travel and to play our part in keeping our region moving and improving air quality.

“With recent major investment in our fleet, a new range of tickets and timetables back to normal levels, or better in some cases, there has never been a better time to try a Go North East bus.

“Our customers, old and new, can be assured that we’re doing all we can to give them a safe, friendly and efficient travelling experience.”

X-Mist’s managing director, Richard Batchelor, added: “We are delighted that in these uncertain times Go North East have chosen to use the X-Mist sanitiser within their significant fleet of 650 vehicles.

“Go North East have been actively improving sanitation within their vehicles to help protect their staff and passengers.

“Their use of X-Mist with its advanced biocide which is proven to kill coronaviruses, and remains active for over 7 days is adding another layer of protection to their cleaning regime.

“Another step to helping give people the confidence to start travelling again, which is vital to the recovery of our economy.”