New Social Distancing Guidelines

Latest Social Distancing and Travel Guidance for Passengers

24 August 2020

West Midlands North West Worcester and Warwickshire

As schools re-open and more people are allowed to return to work, you may be looking at resuming your daily commute or travelling more by bus.

Diamond have been working hard throughout the pandemic, to ensure our services operate with the upmost safety in mind and if you are now thinking of returning to our services, we are here to reassure you that you can do so with confidence.

If you haven’t travelled with us for a while things may be a little bit different to how they were, but don’t worry we have lots of information on our website to help you.

If you have been travelling with us throughout lockdown, we have new information available regarding measures we are putting inplace to ensure services remain safe as more people plan to return to travelling on our buses.

We would like to invite you to take some time to familiarise yourself with the changes and plan ahead to make your return to our services run smoothly.

Face Coverings:

Government Guidelines state that It is now mandatory for passengers to wear a face covering when travelling on Public Transport unless they are exempt.

  • Exemptions include young children and people with some health conditions (See below link for details). 
  • Passengers who are not exempt and refuse to wear a face covering will not be allowed to travel and could be fined. 
  • Your driver may not be wearing a cloth face covering when they are driving. This is because there are different regulations for Bus Drivers and other social distancing measures are in place to protect them and you. They will wear a clear face shield when passengers are boarding and alighting and when social distancing can’t be maintained.
  • To read our full guidelines regarding Face Covering regulations, please click here.

Social Distancing:

The government guidelines state that 1m social distancing with Face Coverings is allowed on public transport.

  • We ask passengers to leave extra space between themselves and others as much as possible, when this is not possible, a minimum distance of 1m when wearing a Face Covering is acceptable under the new regulations. 
  • On some larger vehicles passengers may be asked to sit diagonally behind others, on smaller vehicles you may be asked to take a window seat and leave space infront and behind you. Please look out for signage on the bus to guide you.
  • You should observe any “Seat Not in Use” signs and refrain from sitting next to other passengers, unless they are from the same household as you. 
  • Seats within a 2m distance of drivers will continue to be out of use and we request that passengers maintain limited interaction with drivers when boarding and alighting to allow them to carry out their duties safely. 
  • When boarding the bus, please allow other passengers to get off before getting on and keep a sensible distance between you and others while waiting.

As Schools return in September, we are aware that some services will have increased demand in passengers travelling to school in peak times.

  • We have been working with local authorities across the region to identify routes where social distancing will be difficult to maintain at school times.
  • Additional funding from local authorities has enabled us to provide extra vehicles on those identified services, this will help correct social distancing regulations to be maintained the busy school journeys. 
  • Some of these extra buses will be for ‘General Public’ use and will create extra capacity for all passengers. The above social distancing guidelines must be maintained on these services.
  • Some buses will provided as designated “School Children Only” Services, these will be clearly marked on the front of the bus and will be subject to the below social distance guidelines.

To find out which Diamond services will be provided with extra vehicles, please click here: (Link to service lists)

Social Distancing Guidelines on School Services:

Government guidelines state that children on dedicated school bus service or services which exclusively carry children / young people to their place of education, are subject to different social distance guidelines than normal General Public Bus Services.

If your child will be travelling on a School Service or a dedicated school children only bus, please be aware of these guidelines.

  • On dedicated school journeys, social distancing is recommended where possible. However, Children who attend the same school are considered to be within a social “Bubble”. Therefore children are permitted to sit next to other children from the same school as they attend. Full vehicle capacities will be permitted on dedicated school buses.
  • We currently have a ‘No Change Policy’ in place to minimise cash handling, Children paying cash fares should be provided with exact fare. We would encourage pupils to utilise pre-purchased Diamond M-tickets on their mobile phone if possible.
  • Government guidelines on wearing Face Coverings state that children on dedicated school services are not required to wear face coverings by Law. However Government bodies and local authorities advise that children over the age of 11 are recommended to wear face coverings on all public transport, including school services. Therefore we request that children over 11yrs do wear Face Coverings, unless they are exempt for health reasons.
  • Parents are requested to ensure their children are familiar with appropriate hygiene guidelines, such as regular hand washing, use of hand sanitiser, using tissues to catch sneezes and coughs and to dispose of these safely in the bin when they get home.
  • Sensible levels of conduct and behaviour are expected on all school services during this time. Reports of persistent problems around behaviour and non wearing of face coverings onboard will be reported to the school.
  • Parents should be aware that their child must NOT travel if they, or anyone in their household has symptoms of COVID-19.

To find out more about Government guidelines on School Services, please click here

Lower Passenger Capacity:

Social Distancing means we are operating vehicles with a lower capacity than normal on General Public Services.

  • Once the vehicle has reached the new maximum capacity level, the driver will display the ‘Sorry Bus Full’ sign in the front window or on the destination blind (NW only) and we would ask you to be patient and wait for the next service to come along. 
  • Drivers will only allow new passengers onboard when others get off the bus. 
  • The number of people our buses can carry varies depending on the size of the bus, so please look out for signage on the bus to guide you.
  • If the last bus of the day has reached its full social distancing capacity, the onwards boarding will be at the discretion of the driver. Drivers are instructed that vulnerable passengers must not be left behind. However please be aware that the driver must also consider the safety guidelines in place, therefore we ask passengers to plan their journeys as much as possible to avoid busy times.
  • To assist passengers plan their journey to avoid busy periods, we are now able to provide a live capacity feed on our mobile app to show if your bus is busy or not before it arrives. To find out more about our new feature, please click here.

Assistance for passengers with Disabilities:

Our drivers are still required to meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act and assist passengers with a disability.

  • If social distancing measures cannot be maintained when deploying wheelchair ramps, assisting passengers on and off the vehicle or assisting the passenger to a seat, then the driver is required to wear a clear face shield.

Paying for your ticket:

When paying for your ticket, passengers are encouraged to pay by cashless methods where possible to reduce the need for cash handling.

  • Contactless Payment, Apple & Google pay are available on all Diamond buses.
  • You can buy tickets on your mobile phone in advance using the Diamond Bus App.
  • If you do have to pay with cash, please try to have the correct fare available as we are unable to issue change at this time. 

Plan ahead for a smoother journey:

Many of our services have returned to normal schedules, but some may still be operating special timetables.

  • Check our website for the latest timetable information.
  • Service updates are available on both the website and the Diamond Bus App.
  • Check our social media pages for service disruption updates.
  • Please leave extra time for your journey. You may not be able to get on the first bus and may have to wait for the next one.
  • Check if you bus is busy or not before it arrives on the Diamond Bus App.

Taking steps to protect yourself and others:

We ask passengers to follow the latest government guidelines regarding protecting yourself against Coronavirus

  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Use hand sanitiser whenever you are out and about. 
  • Please note, it is the customers responsibility to provide their own hand sanitiser and face covering as we do not provide these. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of your tissue safely after you have left the bus.

Most importantly, if you, or anyone in your household experiences symptoms of coronavirus, please do not travel, stay home and follow Government guidelines.

Enhanced Bus Cleaning Processes:

The health and safety of our passengers and staff is priority for us, thats why we have introduced enhanced cleaning processes on all our vehicles.

  • Every bus has been fitted with an anti-bacterial disinfectant kit for the drivers use; this can be used to clean the drivers working area and anywhere on the bus should they deem it necessary while out in service. 
  • Windows may be kept open to improve ventilation around the bus.
  • More intensive cleaning regimes have been introduced during evenings when buses are stationed at our depots
  • We have invested in thermal fogging sanitisation equipment for each depot to eradicate Covid-19 virus on our buses.
  • The thermal fogging equipment passes EN 14476 tests, which means it is effective against Covid-19. 
  • As part of the Rotala Plc Group, we were the first UK Bus company to introduce 100% daily vehicle sanitisation using this method across our fleet.
  • Vehicles are treated every night so passengers can feel confident that our buses pose no Covid-19 health risk at point of run out each morning. 
  • Our staff have been fully trained and certified in disinfection fogging and use only the approved Covid-19 disinfectant that is also fabric friendly and safe to use.

You can find out more about our new procedures here and see a video link of our Thermo-fogging equipment in action here.


The challenges of operating bus services during these difficult time are not yet over, but we hope that the measures we have put in place help you feel safe and confident to travel on our buses.

We are continuing to work with the government and local authorities. Government regulations and the enforcement of them will continue to be reviewed and Diamond Bus will update this information in-line with changes in Government Policy, please continue to look for updates on our website and social media pages.


Further Information:

A face covering does not need to be a surgical mask, it could be a bandana or scarf.
The government has set out advice for people on how to make their own face coverings easily at home 
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

For the latest up to date information from the Government regarding travelling on Public Transport, click 
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers

For the latest advice from the Government regarding Coronavirus, click https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

 

This page was last updated on 24 August 2020.

 

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