By Monday 30th March all the region’s main bus operators will be running to emergency timetables in the face of the current Coronavirus crisis resulting in a 80-90% reduction in the demand for bus services as people follow the Government’s stay at home advice, balanced with the need to keep services running for key workers and access to essential shopping and healthcare.
All routes will continue to operate, but at reduced frequencies. Bus operators’ websites and social media channels should be checked for full details.
To help those still needing to get around for essential journeys and to maximise the use of the combined frequencies of the emergency timetables, as well as providing a safety net for any unforeseen issues, the North East’s bus operators and the Local Authorities and Transport bodies who commission supported services, have all agreed an emergency arrangement through the NEBus partnership for the duration of the Coronavirus crisis and bus operators’ emergency timetables.
This will mean that valid bus tickets from all operators in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, County Durham and the Tees Valley, including Arriva, Go North East, Stagecoach, Stanley Travel and other smaller operators operating Local Authority contracts, can be used across any bus operator on the routes or fare zone that the original ticket is issued for. This includes return, day and season tickets.
Martijn Gilbert, Chair of NEBus, said “Since the launch of NEBus last August, bus operators and Local Transport bodies have increasingly been working together in a growing partnership on ways to make bus travel even better and for more people. The current stay at home advice means demand for bus services is down by nearly 90%, but keeping services running for all communities is critical for the travel needs of many key workers and those needing to access essential shopping and healthcare. Service levels are being reduced in line with demand and a need to manage resources and minimise people movements in line with Government advice to help us all beat the Coronavirus.
The remaining bus journeys are more reliable than ever because there is virtually no traffic on the roads, so this helps customers depend on specific journeys when they are running at reduced times, but all the bus operators and Local Authorities working together are now enabling any valid bus ticket to be accepted on any other bus operator for the duration of these emergency timetables to help maximise the coverage of the local bus network for essential users, and provide a contingency for any unforeseen issues with customers journeys.
Bus operators, Local Authorities and their teams are doing all they can in some very trying and unsettling circumstances, with a fantastic job being done by bus drivers, engineers, cleaners and those behind the scenes in planning, support and management roles, and we want to assure everyone that we are still here and that buses are still running for essential journeys across the region”.
Customers are reminded of the social distancing public health advice and are requested to pay for their fares, wherever possible, with a contactless bankcard or buy their tickets in advance on operators smartphone apps (which all the main operators now accept and have available).