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‘Where’s the consistency?’ - Bus company criticised over approach to coronavirus restrictions

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:26 17 September 2020

Passengers stand on a First bus ridden by Donna Medcalf, despite restrictions preventing this. Picture: Donna Medcalf

Passengers stand on a First bus ridden by Donna Medcalf, despite restrictions preventing this. Picture: Donna Medcalf

Donna Medcalf

One of the region’s bus providers has been criticised for a lack of consistency over coronavirus safety restrictions as passenger numbers begin to rise.

First has been criticised for a lack of consistency in enforcing its coronavirus regulations. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFirst has been criticised for a lack of consistency in enforcing its coronavirus regulations. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

However, First Buses has called on its passengers to be patient and accept there is a risk they will not be able to board with its reduced capacities.

In recent weeks First has returned to a full timetable of services across the county, but buses remain at 50pc capacity and there is no standing space to allow for socially distanced travel.

And Donna Medcalf, a teacher from Long Stratton, has called for more consistency after this week boarding two crowded buses, and on another occasion being refused travel.

She said: “At the start of the week I was left behind because the bus was full. But then later in the week I was among the first to get on and just watched as it filled up and up. Where is the consistency there?

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“I have no problem with there being a limit on people getting on, but if you’re going to have rules they ought to be stuck to.”

Ady Culpin, a spokesman for First, said the two occasions she had raised were “isolated incidents” which the company would be investigating.

He said: “The key message we have been trying to get across is that our passengers should be able to feel confident getting back on public transport, with their health and safety our top priority.

“All of our buses are labelled on the side with their current capacities, so if they reach that our drivers are being informed not to allow more passengers on. So while the buses may not look like they are full, if the driver does not stop that is why.

“At the same time, one of our safety measures is for our drivers not to leave their cab area, so we are also relying on passengers to abide by the rules as well and it is difficult for them to monitor the whole bus the whole time.”

Mr Culpin added that passengers could monitor how full each service is via the company’s mobile app and encouraged people to travel at off peak times where possible.


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