Coronavirus (COVID-19) - FAQs
4 weeks ago
These FAQ's are designed to help answer questions you may have about travelling by bus. The situation is continually changing and we will do our best to keep you up to date. We are also sending out e-newsletter on a regular basis so you can sign up to receive this by clicking on this link- newsletter.
Please check our main coronavirus page for the latest information about what you need to know before you travel by bus.
Is it OK to use public transport?
Public transport provides a vital role in keeping the country running and ensuring critical sector workers can get to work and fulfil their roles. The Government has moved to the next phase of managing the Coronavirus pandemic, it has said that more people can return to work.
What have you been doing to ensure your buses are clean?
Every bus is subjected to a rigorous clean through every night. Our cleaners have been using the highest quality cleaning products - as used in NHS hospitals - to minimise viral and bacterial risks.
Every day, our cleaning team is out on street at key locations, jumping on our buses to give them an additional touch point wipe down using the same high standard cleaning product - this occurs three or four times a day. The cloths that are used are pre-soaked in our hospital grade anti-viral and anti-bacterial cleaning product so you are unlikely to see spray being used.
Our drivers carry additional cleaning products and clean their own surface and touch point very often outside as well as inside the cab when they take a bus into service.
These regimes are carefully monitored and reviewed.
Will you be increasing bus routes?
We are expecting buses to become busier and we are planning to increase our service levels in the coming weeks. Our new timetables form part of a phased escalation in services that are in line with government guidelines around social distancing on buses. Our aim is to help keep passengers and drivers as safe as possible.
What happens if the last bus of the day is full?
We won't leave anyone stranded with our last buses. We're continually monitoring passenger numbers and our last buses aren't reaching social distance capacity. We'll continue to monitor all journeys and should anything change we'll look to see if we can duplicate journeys to ensure you can travel.
What contingency measures do you have in place if the spread of the virus continues?
We have in place a dedicated team that is closely monitoring and managing the current situation. They communicate every day and have virtual meetings each week. Our priority is to protect the safety of our passengers and our employees. In addition, we will continue to liaise closely with government and public health authorities on any further steps we should take.
Can buses be extra ventilated at this time? Can you force windows to stay open for example?
We cannot force windows to stay open but we would encourage you to keep windows open to aid ventilation. Buses also refresh air through regular intakes when the bus calls at a bus stop and most have windows that can be opened at any time.
How are you protecting your staff, such as drivers?
We are actively communicating with our drivers and reminding everybody of the importance of good hygiene practice. In addition, as with the main customer touch point areas, we are also increasing the frequency of cleaning within driver cabs and other areas our staff come into greater contact with. The ventilation holes on the assault screens are now sealed. Drivers are being provided with face masks, hand santiser and surface wipes to aid protection.
What about the handling of cash?
To decrease direct contact, we are encouraging passengers to use alternative methods of payment to cash (where possible) although we do recognise that some of our passengers do not have access to our mobile app, our key cards or contactless payment cards. We will continue to accept cash, though we will not provide change so please try and have the correct fare.
If you receive a credit voucher from the driver, as change for your cash payment, you will be able to redeem this in our 1 Stop Travel shop or by contacting Customer Services on 01273 886200. Please note the money will be paid via a BACS transfer into your bank account and no cash will be given in 1 Stop.
How are you supporting older and disabled passengers?
As normal we aim to ensure our services are accessible for all.
All our buses are fitted with next stop audio and visual announcements as well as low floor access. Fitted ramps, deployed by the driver, ensures easier wheelchair access.
We recognise that social distancing may be more challenging for some passengers. Our drivers can verbally advise customers of this and available seating. Our Helping Hand card can discreetly advise drivers of any help required for anyone not wishing to speak directly to the driver.
Following reduced capacity to help with social distancing, updated signage has been added on our buses to remind passengers that not all disabilities are visible and to remind that seating should be for passengers who may need it more.
Our bus timetables are available in large print and we can enlarge any other information on request.
ReciteMe is at the top of every page on the website. The Recite Me accessibility and language support toolbar provides visitors to the website with a wide range of features. This includes text to speech functionality, fully customisable styling features, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices
An SMS texting service is available to assist passengers with a hearing impairment have contact via with our customer service team via the phone on 07583 051915.
In order for customers to take advantage of exclusive early morning opportunities being offered by some shops, and in partnership with local councils, we are accepting any English concessionary pass for travel 24 hours a day - this is subject to change.
Changes to older person's concessionary pass acceptance from Monday 15th June
West Sussex County Council is making changes in order to maximise capacity for social distancing for key workers travelling at peak times.
If you're boarding a bus in West Sussex with an older person's pass, you will no longer be able to travel before 0930 on Mondays to Fridays. West Sussex disabled pass holders will still be able to board at any time in West Sussex.
How will I know if the situation has changed?
As the situation evolves, we will continue to engage with government, follow guidance from PHE and provide advice and updates to customers on our services. We will primarily be doing this using our website and e-mail communications and would advise passengers to keep an eye on these for updates. You can sign up for e-mails from Brighton & Hove Buses by clicking here.
I have been unable to use the full validity of my bus pass due to being told to self-isolate or work from home. Can I have a refund on the unused section?
We continue to provide bus services for those who require essential travel. However, we do have processes in place if a change in circumstances means that a passenger wants to freeze their travel or apply for a refund. Please contact our customer services team for more assistance with this.
I have bookings with Spirit of Sussex. Will these be cancelled?
In order to help protect everyone, all bookings are cancelled until further notice.
If my Spirit of Sussex booking is cancelled, will I get a refund?
If your trip has been cancelled, then one of the team will be getting in touch shortly to discuss this further with you.
How will you be supporting people with questions and concerns?
We recognise how important it will be for us to keep everyone up to date. We have a dedicated team of customer service advisors who currently work seven days a week. They can be contacted by telephone, e-mail or using our social media channels. We also have contingency plans in place to ensure there are enough staff to maintain these opening hours as this situation continues to develop. However, if there are any changes, we’ll provide updates. Updates on services will be available daily on our website and we will also send out e-mail newsletters at more regular intervals. You can sign up for e-mails for Brighton & Hove Buses here.
Are your Travel Shops open?
Our 1 Stop Travel Shop in Brighton is open with social distancing measures in place to ensure we can help you safely, however the reception at Conway Street remains closed. Travel shop opening hours can be found here.
Our travel shop will fall under the new government guidance for the mandatory wearing of face coverings in shops from 24 July. Please make sure you wear a face covering when entering 1 Stop Travel, unless you have an exemption.
Under the new guidance, there may be circumstances where staff may not need to wear a mask. This will generally be when they are protected by a screen or if they are helping a customer who needs to lip read, or if they have an exemption themselves. All staff have access to face coverings if they need one however.
Our friendly customer service team provide telephone, social media and email support 7 days a week on 01273 886200 and SMS texting for passengers with a hearing impairment on 07583 051915
Customer services opening times
Monday to Friday: 0700-1900
Sunday: 0930- 1630
Have you reduced the number of people a bus can carry?
Seating capacities on our buses are reduced to slightly below half of their normal seated capacity, subject to each specific bus type:
• Double deck – 30 to 36 seats
• Single deck – 15 seats
• Spirit Mini – 8 seats.
It will clearly state on a notice by the front doors what the capacity is on the bus. These are for guidance and remain flexible depending on family groupings and bubbles so please respect the driver’s decision to carry more passengers than the capacity notice states at times. Distance of seats from the driver will be maintained and rear facing seats will remain closed. This means every seat bay can be used but only families or bubbles travelling together should sit next to each other.