South Yorkshire pupils reminded to travel safely this September
TRANSPORT bosses are reminding pupils returning to school across South Yorkshire to plan ahead and check the guidance before they travel.
Extra dedicated school buses and coaches are running to alleviate pressure on public transport and more local bus timetables have been boosted to near pre-COVID-19 levels to manage travel demand.
South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive’s (SYPTE) Director of Customer Services, Tim Taylor, says: “We’ve worked with schools, colleges and families to plan bus services to meet increased demand in the new academic year. We’ve also worked with bus and coach companies to add more journeys at peak school travel times, where possible, and added extra dedicated school services across the region. We want to reassure parents and students that South Yorkshire’s transport network is ready for the return to school and work this September.
“Our priority is making sure that every child can get to school safely and on time. That’s why we’re asking pupils and parents to plan journeys ahead and, where possible, think about whether it’s possible to walk, scoot or cycle.
“We’re reminding pupils using the school bus or public transport to be sure to check the guidance. On school buses this includes wearing face coverings, sitting with people from their school ‘bubble’, regularly washing or sanitising hands and keeping their distance, wherever possible, to keep themselves and their class mates safe.”
Government guidance published to manage capacity and reduce risk on school transport means members of the public cannot travel on dedicated school buses and onboard social distancing capacity limits are not required.
It follows the Department for Education’s announcement of £993,000 funding to support additional bus services for home to school travel across South Yorkshire.
Rob Hughes, Operations Director at First South Yorkshire said; “As we welcome back students who are attending schools and colleges for the first time in many months, we understand that some may be quite nervous and cautious about travelling on the bus, but I can reassure everyone that we have introduced several measures to keep passengers safe and feel confident in travelling with us.
“On our commercially operated services we have reduced capacities and implemented social distancing in seating areas, we are undertaking extra deep cleans and carrying out sanitizing procedures each evening and randomly on buses in the daytime.
“On dedicated school services we are working closely with our local authority partners and following government guidelines on advising students to wear a face covering when travelling on the bus unless a person is exempt. We also advise that where possible students travel in their group bubbles as assigned by each school/college.”
Phil Medlicott, Managing Director for Stagecoach Yorkshire, said: “We want to make sure that as pupils return to school and college and more people start to get to work, they can be confident about their journey with us.
“We’ve worked closely with local authorities to put a number of additional measures in place including dedicated school bus services and extra buses on busy routes to ensure we can separate school children and public bus services wherever it’s possible to do so.
“We’re continuing with our extensive daily deep cleaning of all buses and with everybody playing their part and following the rules on wearing face coverings and hygiene, people can continue to travel to work, school and college by bus safely and confidently.”
Fares for travelling on a school bus remain the same as for travelling on public transport, unless pupils are entitled to free home to school transport.
Megatravel and 16-18 travel passes entitle young people to an 80p reduced fare, either via cash or with a pre-purchased ticket.
Families can find all the information they need about travelling to and from school or college safely at travelsouthyorkshire.com/schooltravel and read more about staying safe on public transport at travelsouthyorkshire.com/coronavirus. Details of all school bus services are available at travelsouthyorkshire.com/schoolbuses
A video about using the school bus safely is also available at https://youtu.be/aYejBHeOZGE
Customers can also get the latest information by calling Traveline on 01709 515151 between 7am and 7pm on weekdays and between 8am and 7pm at weekends or via Travel South Yorkshire’s social media channels.