New Social Distancing Guidelines from Saturday 4th July
03 June 2020
As the government continues to announce the gradual easing of lockdown, we are continuing to work with local transport authorities. We have recently resumed a number of services to their full timetable and continue to review operations daily.
From Saturday 4th July, new government guidelines regarding social distancing come into effect and 1m distancing with Face Coverings will be allowed on public transport. Whilst services will still not be operating at full patronage, this means that capacity on buses can increase slightly and additional passengers can be carried on each journey.
Our Advisory Passenger Capacity has been reviewed and the new guidelines will allow an increase of around 40% extra passengers. 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 updated signage on the bus to guide you.
If the last bus of the day has reached its full social distancing capacity, the onwards boarding of that service 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.
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.
Our drivers are still required to meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act and assist passengers with a disability as they would have in pre-Coronavirus times. 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.
When paying for your ticket, passengers are encouraged to pay by cashless methods where possible. Contactless payment and mobile app tickets are available across all Hallmark services. If you don’t have these methods to pay, please try to have the correct fare available as we have recently adopted a no change policy to reduce the need for cash handling.
From Monday 15th June 2020, it became mandatory for passengers to wear a face covering when travelling on Public Transport unless they are exempt. Exemptions include young children, people with disabilities or breathing difficulties. Passengers who are not exempt and refuse to wear a face covering will not be allowed to travel and could be fined. To find out more about the latest Face Covering regulations, please click here.
We are continuing to ask passengers to leave extra space between themselves and others as much as possible, but when this is not possible, a minimum distance of 1m when wearing a Face Covering is acceptable under the new regulations. Passengers are asked to take a window seat and refrain from sitting next to other passengers, unless they are from the same household. You should also leave space infront and behind you where possible. Windows may be kept open to improve ventilation around the bus.
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. Drivers are provided with a clear face shield to wear when passengers are boarding and alighting or when assisting passengers with disabilities.
Travellers are advised to wash hands before and after travelling and to carry hand sanitiser with you when you are out and about. Most importantly, if you, or anyone in your household experiences symptoms of coronavirus, please do not travel, stay home and follow Government guidelines.
During the pandemic we have introduced more intensive cleaning regimes on 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.
We have also invested in thermal fogging sanitisation equipment for our Heathrow based depot to eradicate Covid-19 virus on our buses.
The thermal fogging equipment passes EN 14476 tests, which means it is effective against Coronavirus Covid-19. As part of the Rotala Plc Group, we are the first UK Bus company to introduce 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. 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.
The challenges of operating bus services during these difficult time are not yet over, but we hope that the measures we have in place help to keep our passengers feel safe and confident to travel when they need to do so.
We are continuing to work with the government and local authorities. These regulations and the enforcement of them will continue to be reviewed and Hallmark will update this information in-line with changes in Government Policy, please continue to look for updates on our website and social media pages.
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 here
For the latest up to date information from the Government regarding travelling on Public Transport, click here
For the latest advice from the Government regarding Coronavirus, click here
This page was update on 1st July 2020.