Bus company reduces service due to coronavirus

One of First's buses outside the Grand Pier.

One of First's buses outside the Grand Pier. - Credit: SUB

First West of England is to reduce its weekly services following the government’s ‘stay at home’ advice.

The bus company has announced from March 23 it plans to run a Saturday service from Monday to Friday – meaning 10 per cent of its fleet is to be stood down.

The announcement comes after the government advised against non-essential travel and social contact to deal with the rising number of coronavirus cases.

Passenger numbers have dropped over the past week as people choose to stay at home, walk or cycle to destinations.

First has written to the Local Traffic Commissioner about its intentions as well as the West of England Combined Authority Mayor Tim Bowles and Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees.

First West of England managing director James Freeman said this decision was not made lightly.

He said: “The government has made it clear that it now wants people, wherever possible, to work from home and avoid any non-essential travel and contact.

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“The number of people travelling has reduced significantly and is continuing to diminish, making this an extremely dynamic situation which is changing day to day, hour to hour.

“By way of bringing some order to the situation we are looking to reduce our Monday to Friday services to a Saturday timetable.

“Where we can, we will add extra buses into the morning rush hour to ensure that workers are catered for.”