National Express coach services set to return

Coach operator National Express has confirmed when it plans to restart some of its services - but with a range of Covid-19 secure measures in place.

Services across its national network of routes will begin again on Wednesday 1 July at a reduced frequency. 

The company, which is the largest coach operator in the UK, says significant new measures will be in place to "allow customers to travel in confidence". 

The restart follows a three-month suspension of all National Express scheduled services in response to the lockdown and a limit on non-essential travel introduced by the government amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chris Hardy, managing director of National Express UK Coaches, explains: "We have always put safety as our number one priority and right now, this is more important than ever as we play our part in getting the country moving again. 

"As restrictions begin to ease and people plan to start travelling once again, we are adapting how we operate to help keep everyone safe." 

Among the Covid-19 secure measures in place will be:

  • Enhanced cleaning regimes in line with government and industry recommendations in stations and on coaches, including regular aerosol based disinfection with a high performance antiviral solution - sometimes called ‘fogging’.

  • An additional filter using three types of technology including UVC radiation to reduce bacteria and corona type viruses, and a PM2.5 filter to improve air quality, has been installed on the air conditioning systems of all coaches.

  • Social distancing in coach stations and on vehicles with the maximum capacity of all coaches limited to 50 per cent. Passengers will be asked to fill vehicles from the back and empty from the front and only sit in window seats with aisle seats blocked off.

  • Temperature screening of customers before allowing travel. Anyone with a high temperature reading (over 38 degrees) will not be allowed to travel and given a full refund.

  • Protective screens on vehicles and in coach stations along with gloves, masks and visors and a supply of hand sanitiser for all drivers and customer service teams, backed up with Covid-19 training.

  • A requirement for customers to provide and wear face coverings, preferably a face mask, when in coach stations and travelling on vehicles, in line with government guidelines.

National Express say all customers who book directly will now be given the option to amend the date, time and journey origin and destination free of charge if their circumstances change, while the frequency of services will be increased "in response to demand". 

Mr Hardy added: "We also appreciate that people are unsure about committing to travel plans at the moment so have changed some of our terms and conditions to give reassurance when deciding whether to book. 

"All customers who book direct with National Express will now be given the option to amend the date, time and journey origin and destination free of charge if their circumstances change*.

"The new timetable will focus on major towns and cities, connecting over 180 locations across the UK and equivalent to around a quarter of the mileage of the pre-covid national intercity network. The network scope and frequency will be increased in response to demand.

"We’re working hard to be ready to safely welcome customers back onboard next month. We know there’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment but want to reassure customers old and new that we’ve been working hard and are ready when they’re ready." 

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