13 May 2020

Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Bayhopper and Cityride bus networks will be returning to normal timetables when Alert Level 2 begins tomorrow.

Regional Council Public Transport Committee Chairman Andrew von Dadelszen says while the buses will be running to pre COVID-19 timetables, passenger capacity will be significantly lower.

“To keep things safe for passengers and drivers, all those on-board will need to keep a safe distance from people they don’t know. This means there will be less capacity and we’ll be running at about 40% of what we can carry per bus normally,” Cr von Dadelszen says.

“As per the Ministry of Transport guidelines, standing on all buses will not be allowed while we are at Alert Level 2. Physical distancing must be observed with one metre distance required between other passengers and cash is still not being accepted for fares.”

There will be signs on the bus to guide customers to where they can and cannot sit based on physical distancing restrictions.

Physical distancing of two metres must still be observed at all bus stops and bus interchanges.

Alternative ways of working under Alert Level 2 are also being encouraged by the Government, such as remote working, shift-based working, physical distancing, staggering meal breaks and flexible leave.

School services return

When schools resume on Monday 18 May all Bayhopper school services will return to normal schedules.

However Ministry of Transport guidelines regarding capacity mean school buses won’t be able to carry the same number of students they did pre COVID-19

Cr von Dadelszen says school buses are authorised to carry full seated loads, but no standing passengers.

“The majority of our school vehicles can carry a maximum of 36 secondary or 55 primary/intermediate students. For this reason, we do expect there to be capacity issues across the network. We ask that parents consider making alternative arrangements to get their child to and from school in the case that capacity is an issue on your child’s bus.

He asks that parents wait with their child at the bus stop in case they are not able to be picked up.

Vehicles and surfaces will be sanitised daily and hand sanitiser is available on all school buses.

Bus operators have completed germ shield fogging on all buses. The antibacterial spray coating is effective in destroying germs that come into contact with surfaces.

For more information on urban and school bus services please visit www.baybus.co.nz.