The last coach arrived in Birmingham from London at 23:55 on April 5 before a three-month suspension of all National Express scheduled services in response to the covid-19 pandemic.
The UK’s largest coach operator will now resume services at a reduced frequency on its national network of intercity routes with new covid secure measures in place to allow customers to travel in confidence.
Chris Hardy, managing director of National Express UK Coach, said: “It's great to have around 500 drivers back behind the wheel. All of our teams have been working hard to get us ready to safely welcome customers back onboard, implementing significant changes to protect everyone’s health and well being.
“We’re happy to be back on the road and playing our part in getting the country safely moving again by providing a safe option for those who have no alternative to public transport.”
Covid secure measures include:
Enhanced cleaning regimes in line with Government and industry recommendations will be in place 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%. 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) 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.
The first service will depart from Poole at 05:05 on Wednesday 1 July to arrive at London’s Victoria coach station at 08:50. 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.
Chris Hardy added: “For anyone unsure about committing to travel plans at the moment, we’ve introduced the option to amend the date, time and journey origin and destination free of charge if circumstances change.
“We know there’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment but want to reassure customers old and new that they can travel in confidence with National Express. We’re ready when they are.”
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