National Express -Buses On Safety First!

Councillor Phil Bateman said ” National Express is a key company and an important provider of Local Bus services to City of Wolverhampton the Black Country and Wednesfield.”

They tell me that -“With the government further relaxing the lockdown rules, I am pleased to confirm that National Express West Midlands bus services in Birmingham and the Black Country will be back running at full strength as of next week.

It means that from Sunday 5 July we will have over 105,000 more seats available every day, making it even easier for our customers to practise safe social distancing. The latest timetables can be found on our website Other bus operators, local rail and Metro services may change at different times and in different ways – information on other services is available.”

Councillor Phil Bateman added – National Express also has informed me that safety is still their number one priority. This is what they have explained where it comes to facemasks on board the bus.”

National Express explained that Staying safe on board on board the Bus – “Throughout this crisis we’ve provided the essential lifeline to our frontline – keeping buses running for key workers, and helping those who needed to travel to get essentials from the shops. We’ve adapted our network astonishingly quickly and increased the number of buses on busy routes to ensure that those who travel with us, can do so safely.

We continue to play a key role in the local recovery effort by further increasing our services to accommodate extra customers as more people return to work, to shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants, and visits to friends and family where they are allowed to.

I would like to reassure those who haven’t travelled with us for a while that we have a series of measures in place to protect our drivers and our customers.

All of our buses have permanent full-height perspex screens around the driver’s cab. Under the latest government regulations bus drivers do not need to wear face coverings while they’re in the cab. Drivers are provided with face masks to help protect others when they’re outside the cab area. They also have gloves, hand sanitiser and wipes available to them.

Our vehicle cleaning regimes have been enhanced to reduce the risk of contact with the coronavirus, including extra cleaning of shared surface areas such as steering wheels, dashboards, handrails and bell pushes.

And our cleaning teams are jumping on buses at bus stations, key interchanges and stops to wipe down mid-route. Our buses are also deep cleaned every night by “fogging” – an aerosol-based disinfection containing a high-performance antiviral solution that settles in the hard-to-reach areas.

Fogging on a National Express West Midlands bus

We have worked closely with the union to develop our policy and communicate all of the guidance to our employees – and all of our safety procedures are jointly agreed with Unite the Union.”

Councillor Bateman further commented – “I am grateful that National Express also made a statement about the safety of Passengers and the regulation regarding the absolute need to have a safety covering of the face ”

This is what National Express say on Face covering -“We are asking our customers to work with us and protect their fellow passengers by remembering to bring and wear their face coverings when travelling on public transport, as per the government legislation that was introduced on the 15th June. I’m pleased to say we’re seeing around 90% of passengers complying so far.

We are aware of and understand why some customers are concerned about other passengers not wearing a face covering onboard. According to the legislation, some people don’t have to wear a face covering for health, age or equality reasons. We’ve asked our bus drivers to remind customers of the new rules, but they are also aware that some people may have perfectly valid reasons for not wearing one – and that these are not always obvious due to a hidden disability or health condition. Therefore our drivers are using their discretion.

We’re also very conscious that overall, the safest thing for customers is for the bus not to be held up while a driver has lengthy conversations with non-compliant passengers. This keeps people on a bus for longer than is necessary, and it also keeps customers waiting longer than necessary at stops further down the route.

National Express West Midlands drivers are recording all instances of non-compliance on the ticket machine software. We send this data to the Safer Travel Police, who are using it to target any hotspots on the network. Officers have been removing passengers from services when face coverings haven’t been used without a valid reason.

In addition, our own team of inspectors are now going out in pairs to remind customers of their responsibilities to keep themselves and other passengers safe.”

Please read and remember, and pass the information onto other passengers. Safety on our Public Transport system is key to returning to a normal life, after this virus has been controlled.

Thank You National Express for making these important safety points.

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more