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School buses - September 2020

boars head 54x64pxWe have received information from our school bus operator Stagecoach and Kent County Council (KCC).

Correspondence from Stagecoach

Dear parent/guardian,

As you get your kids ready to return to school, we know you’ll have some concerns about what might be different for them when they use the bus. At this difficult time our priority is to protect the safety of your children, our passengers and colleagues. We’ve been listening carefully to feedback on what extra steps we can take to help people feel safe onboard our buses. One of the measures we’ve taken is to minimise cash handling by not issuing change on the bus. To confirm, we are continuing to accept cash on our buses, but our drivers are unable to give change back. Any overpayments are donated to Demelza Hospice Care for Children. Some of you will have purchased a KCC pass for your child, this can be scanned on the bus as usual. However we know some of you didn’t want to commit to a long term ticket in such uncertain times.

Don’t worry, we still have lots of options for you:

  1. Pay with the exact change
  2. Buy a monthly ticket on our website: https://www.stagecoachbus.com/tickets
  3. If your child has a mobile phone, you can download our app and buy day or weekly tickets straight to their phone: https://www.stagecoachbus.com/app

Thanks for bearing with us on this.

The government requires all passengers using public transport aged 11 years or more, to wear a face-covering unless medically exempt. Our drivers will remind passengers of this requirement, but it is the responsibility of your child to comply.
Our drivers will not refuse travel or apply any enforcement measures, but we appeal to students and parents to ensure that this is taken seriously and that a face-covering is worn at all times when on the bus.

All our school services will be running as usual albeit with a reduced capacity.

Some of our bus journeys will be running as ‘dedicated schools services’. This means they will only be available for young people to board if travelling to and from their place of education. The general public will not be able to use them, and, in accordance with government instructions, the current capacity limits will not apply. We will be able to carry any young person on these services up to nearly the maximum seated capacity of the bus (no standing and no use of seats close to the driver or rear-facing). It is really important that students take a seat as soon as they get on board. A “dedicated school service” means that the bus will only drop off students at the school/s, the bus won’t drop off at other regular stops. If a bus usually serves more than one school it will drop students off at each school, as usual. KCC are happy for these services to carry students from more than one school.

The following services that serve schools in Thanet are being treated as “dedicated school services”:

8X Westwood - Birchington 0726
48A` St Nicholas - Dane Court 0701
48A` Dane Court - St Nicholas 1535

Unfortunately, when these services are full students will need to make use of the other services that serve your school. These services, which are open to the public will still have to adhere to the current strict social distancing rules with a much reduced capacity. However, some of these bus journeys will be shadowed by another bus running behind. These shadow buses may be operated by a different bus company. They will be there to provide back-up capacity if needed. We’re currently working with the County Council to decide which journeys will be shadowed, but we may need to swap and change depending on where the busiest journeys are.

We are urging everyone to check our service information web page for the latest timetable and service information. https://www.stagecoachbus.com/SECovid19

Guidance from Kent County Council

A new “Returning to school using transport” section has been added to kent.gov.uk, to provide information about transport, guidance and the measures that have been adopted. This information will include a public information video to help inform parents, children and other bus users.

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