Information sent out on behalf of Mainstream Transport Department, Gloucestershire County Council
- Bus routes and timetables: All closed school routes and timetables will run as they did prior to the lockdown with no reduced capacity due to social distancing and students should go to their bus stops as they normally do. Timetables can be checked by going to https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/transport/school-and-college-transport/school-bus-timetables/
- Bus passes: New bus passes for returning and new Year 7 secondary school students are being sent to home addresses and will be with students by the end of August at the latest.
- Seating bubbles: Students who travel on GCC contracted routes (those which only take GCC pass-holding students) will need to sit in their ‘year group bubbles’ on the bus. GCC will be speaking with every one of their operators on a school by school basis and they will be given a bubble plan for each route to inform them of how many seats are required for each year group so it can be made clear where the students need to sit. Clearly, the driver is not going to know each child and what year group they are in so students must sit in their correct bubbles and not attempt to sit by their friend in a different year group. On busy routes where every seat needs to be used there will be students from different year groups sitting next to each other as this is unavoidable where bubbles are adjacent.
- Spare seat scheme: GCC will be offering the scheme and will contact parents directly, assuming they have completed an application form, if there is capacity on the vehicle to offer them a seat. As in previous years offers of spare seats may not be able to be made to parents prior to the start of term; this is due to the fact that many late applications are received creating uncertainty surrounding actual spare capacity.
- School bubbles: Where there is a GCC contracted route that serves more than one school, routes will be separated onto different vehicles so that only one vehicle serves one school. Privately operated routes that carry several schools on the same bus (mainly grammar schools) will still operate as normal as this is the only way to make the service viable.
- Face coverings: On GCC contracted routes face coverings should be worn whilst on the vehicle. This includes any students that are brought to school by taxi/minibus. In the first week of September when GCC pass-holding students board the vehicle they will be asked by the driver to take 2 washable face masks from a box. Students are being given 2 reusable face masks so that they always have one to wear whilst the other is being washed. We ask that students only take the 2 allocated to them to ensure there are enough for everyone. Students who travel on public transport must wear a face covering. As it’s not feasible to have these ready to collect on a public transport route these will be sent to the school for children to collect on their first day. This means on the morning of their first day they will need to provide their own face covering for the journey into school using public transport. If students prefer to wear their own face coverings rather than the reusable ones supplied by GCC, this is perfectly permissible.
- Waiting at the bus stop: Students need to social distance from each other whilst waiting at bus stops. Only students from the same household or year group should stand together. Like many of the above measures we are dependent on students taking responsibility for this themselves and being sensible.
- Cleaning of vehicles: Parents and students can be assured that the operators have increased their cleaning schedules on the vehicles and they will be thoroughly cleaned each day. They will also be cleaned between different bubbles using the vehicle.
- Latest Government Guidelines: Please follow this link to find out all the latest information and guidance for transport https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators
Thank you for working with us to make September transport a success. Should you have any queries, please contact Miss Faye Williams, Mainstream School Transport Lead Officer, on 01452 425543 or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org