Coronavirus (COVID-19) - FAQs
2 months ago
These FAQ's (frequently asked questions) 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 welcome any feedback on how we could improve these FAQ's further.
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?
As per government advice, anyone can now travel with us. At this time you should only be making essential journeys. We also ask that you familiarise yourself with our safety and travel advice if you haven't travelled with us for a while.
See the government guidelines for passengers.
The guidance advises not to travel if you are clinically extremely vulnerable. We therefore recommend you take expert medical advice on this before you do travel if you are unsure if this refers to you.
Will you be increasing bus routes?
On Sunday 17 January revised timetables were put in operation with our overall service temporarily reduced from around 90% to 80% due to the current national lockdown. We believe this level of service supports those who need to travel while maintaining social distancing. We have kept changes to a minimum, continuing to provide a good, regular service on most routes and protecting journeys for key workers. Fewer journeys will operate on some routes but we are making sure we run buses at the times when they are most needed
We’ll give you as much notice as possible when we increase services again.
Our services are now running to around 90% of pre-coronavirus levels. We’ll give you as much notice as possible for any future service changes.
Any passenger unable to access the website can contact us via telephone, email, social media, in person at our travel shops. All details at the bottom of the page.
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, this is to maintain social distancing and help reduce the spread of the virus. If you are on a double deck then please use seating upstairs, if you can, to help with social distancing.
We centrally monitor boarding through our ticket machines.
Seating capacity is subject to each specific bus type:
• Double deck – 30 to 36 seats
• Single deck – 15 seats
• Spirit Mini – 8 seats.
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 stated above.
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. Be aware of pregnant, older and disabled people who may require a seat or extra space and be aware that not all disabilities are visible.
The screens will advise when the bus is full - drivers can advise verbally this information when the bus stops for passengers unable to read the screens. Helping Hand may assist with this. If the bus is full only one passenger can board for every passenger that gets off.
During the current period of capacity restrictions, the boarding of buggies, pushchairs or wheelchairs will be reduced to a mix of TWO, for example 1 wheelchair + 1 pushchair OR 2 pushchairs. These limits relate to open - not folded - pushchairs. This will maintain the current social distancing guidelines.
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.
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 sanitiser and surface wipes to aid protection.
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, or a nominated bank account, and no cash will be given in 1 Stop. You can use your change voucher to pay for further bus journeys.
We have introduced Apple Pay Express Mode on our buses.
If you have an iPhone you can use it to pay for bus travel for contactless payments on board our buses. In fact, for Apple Pay, it just got a bit smarter. Using Apple’s Apple Pay Express Mode there is no need to wake or unlock your device, open an app or use Face ID or Touch ID, so it’s easier and quicker!
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 up to five 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.
Do you have hand sanitiser available on buses?
Hand sanitisers are fitted to all our buses by the entrance door for anyone who wishes to use them when boarding. We still recommend following government guidelines of washing your hands frequently and as soon as you can after travelling with us.
Do I need to wear a face covering?
Yes you do. You must wear a face covering if you are aged 11 and over. They need to be worn at all times and make sure they cover both your nose and mouth. Some people may be exempt from wearing a face covering – full details and a list of exemptions can be found here.
Can buses be extra ventilated at this time? Can you force windows to stay open for example?
We understand that the weather is now colder but it’s very important to keep refreshing the air on our buses so we need the windows to remain open. Our buses go through the bus wash each night as part of our cleaning regime so we cannot force windows to stay open but we would encourage you to keep them 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 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. The driver can also advise and help you in regards to social distancing near the driver’s cab and in the seating areas. For some people it is difficult to recognise their distance from others. For example, passengers with a sight impairment. We welcome the assistance of all our passengers and colleagues to help and support each other during this time.
On request, our drivers are available to assist when required. 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, 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.
From Monday 18 January 2021 the rules around concessionary travel were temporarily relaxed. All other local authorities have agreed to accept both disabled and older person passes for their own residents and other counties' residents at all times.
For a full breakdown of the time restrictions for each council, click here.
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 liaise closely with government and public health authorities on any further steps we should take.
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.
Please do also contact our friendly customer service team who will be happy to assist. Contact details are at the bottom of the page.
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 are available on our website and we also send out e-mail newsletters at regular intervals.
Are your Travel Shops open?
Our 1 Stop Travel Shop in Brighton and reception at Conway Street are open with social distancing measures in place to ensure we can help you safely. Travel shop opening hours can be found here.
Our travel shops fall under the government guidance for the mandatory wearing of face coverings in shops, so we ask, that unless you have an exemption, please make sure you wear a face covering when entering the travel shop.
Under the guidance, there may be circumstances where staff may not need to wear a face covering. This will generally be if they have an exemption themselves or if they are helping a customer who needs to lip read - staff will stand 2 metres away and remove their face covering.
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: 07:00-19:00
Sunday: 09:30- 16:30