Covid-19 FAQ 17/04/2020

COVID-19 FAQ - Updated 11.05.2020

Can I still use the bus?

You may still travel by bus, but for essential reasons only. This includes going to get essential shopping, visiting a pharmacy, travelling for medical reasons, travelling to / from work when you cannot work from home. You should NOT travel for social or entertainment reasons.

Can I travel by bus yet?

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on the 10th of May – and also by the First Minister (Wales) on Friday – we’d like to assure customers that we’ll be continuing to operate services unchanged for now. We are keeping a close eye on passenger numbers and if individual routes begin to regularly reach the point where more passengers try to board than social distancing allows, we will consider putting more buses on. However, please remember that currently, the advice is still to not travel unless it is still absolutely essential. We will also continue to operate a cashless policy until further notice, to protect our frontline colleagues.

What is going to happen to bus services when passenger numbers drop significantly?

In light of the decreasing passenger numbers that we are experiencing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have amended many of our timetables so that services match the levels of demand. We apologise for any inconvenience caused as a result of timetable reductions / amendments, but with the very low numbers of people now travelling, we have had to act accordingly.

Can I pay by cash?

No, we made the decision in late March to stop taking cash in order to protect our colleagues. You can pay by contactless card, ApplePay, GooglePay or by using our app.

Will bus services return to normal once Covid-19 passes?

When lockdown reduces or is removed altogether, we will gradually put more and more services on to ensure that people can travel to where they need to go. However, it is now obvious that social distancing may last some time longer than lockdown, which means that we will potentially have far fewer passengers permitted to travel on-board each bus and that is going to make it very hard to make some journeys efficient. We hope to get back to running as many services ‘normally’ as soon as possible, but as the situation develops and we learn more from other countries about their experiences, we are continually reviewing how best to manage our ‘exit’ of lockdown. You can be assured that we will do everything we can to get routes up to the levels they need to operate at, to ensure that people can travel when they need to, as fast as possible.

Are school buses running as normal?

No, we were advised by the various local authorities some weeks ago that we would not be required to run school services until such point as schools re-open for mainstream students. The latest guidance from Welsh Government suggests that schools are unlikely to reopen until late June at the earliest. We will continue to update passengers of any changes via social media and on our website.

Why are some buses still running, even though they are carrying very few passengers or none at all on certain journeys?  

We’ve worked closely with our local authority transport departments to ensure that we’re operating journeys for key workers, but also for those who need essential access to shops, pharmacies etc. We realise that some journeys here and there will be very lightly used, or indeed occasionally empty, but we need to run a skeleton service on certain routes to provide travel options for those who need to travel, even if that means that there are ‘peaks’ and the opposite on some occasions. Fortunately, bus operators have been allocated some funding from Welsh Government which is enabling these essential journeys to continue, but also enabling operators to cope with the significant reduction of revenue during Covid-19.

What is happening with all of your bus drivers? Is their employment safe?   

A significant number of drivers are currently furloughed, thanks to the Governments ‘Job Retention Scheme’ which allows us to keep them all employed for when the situation improves. The management team at NAT Group will work incredibly hard to ensure that redundancies are avoided and we continue to engage with Welsh Government to ensure that the situation is well documented / understood.

Why aren’t you updating timetables on roadside displays?     

The number of timetable changes that we’re having to make at the moment, in order to dynamically respond to usage and demand, means that changing timetables at bus stops each time is not achievable. There would be a huge amount of work generated by doing that, not to mention a significant cost, at a time when many of our revenue streams have dried up. It would be extremely inefficient to print timetables and put them up, only to then repeat the entire exercise again a week later, then yet again when lockdown ends. It would also mean exposing more employees to risk of catching Covid-19 by being at work outside, whereas the staff who would normally undertake such work are currently furloughed.

What are you doing to keep your buses as free from infection as possible?

We are cleaning our buses very thoroughly and reviewing Government guidance daily. We have significantly increased the amount of people involved in vehicle presentation / cleanliness.

What happens if I have hired a coach with you?

Our sales team will be in touch if you have booked a coach with us. All international travel has been halted and most UK coach hire work has also now ceased until further notice, so please call us or email us if you have any queries.