01242 257 714
Visit us at 61 Clarence Street, Cheltenham, open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, 9:30am – 1:30pm Saturday
Last Updated: Monday 27th July 2020 @ 10:40.
We take the welfare of our customers and employees extremely seriously, and are doing everything we can to keep them safe from the risk of infection from COVID-19, whilst travelling with us.
Before vehicles depart our depot it will have undergone a thorough deep clean using bleach, disinfectant and other recommended cleaning products. Particular attention is given to the high touch areas including, but not exclusively hand rails, handles, seat belts and where fitted washroom facilities. During the course of the day our drivers and cleaning staff will continue to maintain hygiene levels by wiping these high touch areas with antibacterial wipes and other cleaning products.
Antibacterial hand sanitiser containing a minimum 70% alcohol will also be available for passengers to use throughout the duration of your childs journey.
The Department for Transport (DfT), made the following statement on 2nd July 2020, regarding social distancing on school bus transport:
We are making a distinction between dedicated school transport and wider public transport:
· by dedicated school transport, we mean services that are used only to carry pupils to school. This includes statutory home to school transport, but may also include some existing or new commercial travel routes, where they carry school pupils only
· by public transport services, we mean routes which are also used by the general public
Dedicated school transport including statutory provision
Pupils on dedicated school services do not mix with the general public on those journeys and tend to be consistent. This means that the advice for passengers on public transport to adopt a social distance of two metres from people outside their household or support bubble, or a one metre pluss approach where this is not possible, will not apply from the autumn term on dedicated transport.
Based on the current guidance given by the DfT, social distancing will not apply to our dedicated school bus services to Denmark Road High School, Pates Grammar School, Sir Thomas Rich's School and Winchcombe School from September.
Pupils will be required to wear a face covering whilst travelling on our services including when boarding and alighting. Further details including information on those who are exempt from wearing a face covering can be found on our website, please Click Here.
We will continue to monitor the guidance given by the Government and DfT with updates on travel guidance posted on our website.
Each year we conduct a full network review of all our school bus services, including our M15, M16 & M18 services to & from Winchcombe School. During this years review we have identified the following problems:
1. During the course of the current academic year we have seen an increase in external damage to the front near side pillar areas and windscreens of the double deck buses used on our M18 service between Gotherington and Gretton. This has been caused by low overhanging branches and overgrowth that have been allowed to creep into and across the carriageway. We have asked Gloucestershire County Council to investigate and trim back trees on several occasions, however, this is a problem that continues to persist.
2. We have seen a recent increase in complaints from both parents/guardians and pupils regarding the poor behaviour of a minority of pupils using our services, in particular the M15 & M18 services.
3. The impact COVID-19 will have on our bus services and the likely drop in demand for our services due to possible social distancing measures and the potential lack of confidence to use the services due to the possible risk of infection.
To overcome some of these problems we have had to make some difficult decisions so that we can safeguard the future viability of these school bus services. The following changes will take effect from Thursday 3rd September 2020:
1. We plan to introduce single deck vehicles on the route that travels between Gotherington and Gretton. This should overcome the issues we have faced with top deck body damage and the need to replace several upper deck windscreens at approximately £500 each time. To accommodate the introduction of a single decker we have had to change the routes taken by our M15 & M18 services. We would like to reassure you that no bus stops currently used have been removed from the revised services, however, some bus stops may now appear on a different route or sited a little further along the road. Please Click Here to see the timetables for further details.
2. We have an excellent working relationship with Winchcombe School and in particular the new head teacher, Mr Templeton. We have worked closely with parents/guardians, pupils and the school to identify and deal with any passenger who misbehaves whilst using our services. Our intention is that every child should find the journey to and from school on our bus services, comfortable, safe and enjoyable. Well continue to work tirelessly to ensure this is the case.
3. COVID-19 has made a huge impact on our business and will shape the way our company operates in the future. We are unsure how passengers will adapt to the new normal way of living and the impact it will have on using public transport. If social distancing is to continue on our school bus services it will affect the amount of pupils we can permit to use the service at any one time. We are certain to see a reduction in passenger numbers due to concerns relating to contracting COVID-19 whilst travelling on school buses. To overcome this problem we are withdrawing the pay as you go fares which include singles, day returns, weekly and 4 weekly bus passes from the end of the current academic year. By withdrawing the use of cash payments this will help to minimise the possible risk of infection of COVID-19 from handling cash to both pupils and our staff. Instead all pupils will be required to purchase a yearly bus pass which we intend to hold at this this years prices. Regrettably, we can no longer offer the option of single journeys on an occasional basis. With the introduction of a bus pass only system this will help our operations team monitor passenger numbers in order social distancing guidelines are adhered to, and that every child is guaranteed a seat whilst travelling on our services. Parents/guardians will be able to purchase their child/childrens bus passes from our website, please Click Here.
To ease the financial impact of the changes we are continuing to offer two payment options as follows:
1 x £50 deposit taken at the time of purchase followed by 1 final payment of £600 before 24th August 2020
1 x £50 deposit taken at the time of purchase followed by 6 x monthly payments of £108.33 payable on 1st September 2020, 1st October 2020, 1st November 2020, 1st December 2020, 1st January 2021 and 1st February 2021.
Parents/guardians will be entitled to claim a 5% discount on the purchase of school bus passes for the second and all subsequent children travelling on any of our school bus services to Denmark Road High School, Pates Grammar School & Sir Thomas Richs School. This discount will be applied to the cheapest route.
Pupils who have free entitlement to travel from Gloucestershire County Council (G.C.C), will be able to continue using these school bus services as normal. Parents/guardians whose child/children have the entitlement do not need to take any further action as G.C.C have supplied us with the details of these pupils and their requirements.
We appreciate these changes may have an impact on a minority of families using our school bus services. We have tried to minimise the impact to all families, we know these are difficult financial times for everyone.
All of our school bus services are operated commercially. This means we take the finaciall risk in operating them and receive no financial support from the schools we serve, Gloucestershire County Council or HM Government. By making these changes and bringing our M15, M16 & M18 services into line with our other school bus services by offering school bus passes only, we can try to maintain the current service levels we offer to Winchcombe School. Previously we have seen some routes to other schools that we serve and that were on the verge of being withdrawn due to the reduction in passengers travelling, starting to return back to breakeven and profitable as parents commit to the future sustainability of the service.
We thank you for you valued custom, continued support and understanding during these uncertain and challenging times.