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Crawley’s Metrobus ready for new school year

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Metrobus will welcome children back to school next month with extra buses, dedicated school-only services and a scaled-up cleaning regime.

Brighton & Hove and Metrobus’ Managing Director Martin Harris said:

“We are really pleased to welcome children back on our buses now that schools have reopened for everyone.

“Our top priority is to get children swiftly and safely to and from school and we’ve been doing everything possible to make sure our buses are clean and safe, in line with government guidance.

“Our cleaners have spent the past six months supercharging our cleaning regime, so that buses are cleaned up to five times a day using hospital grade products and our Health and Safety Team and Bus Supervisors have put in place social distancing. They’ve also been boarding buses politely asking people to wear face coverings, if they can.”

The bus company’s recent survey estimated that more than 90% of passengers who can wear face coverings are currently wearing them.

Martin said the bus company had also worked alongside schools and local councils to anticipate and meet demand.

“We are operating a comprehensive service for school children across our network,” said Martin. “We are converting a number of regular bus journeys to be available to schoolchildren only, as well as adding many extra school buses.”  

He said the company would keep a close eye on school journeys as the school term progressed and would make adjustments where needed.

“In the meantime, before school starts, I encourage you to get your child’s busID (Brighton & Hove) or Child Keycard (Metrobus), or load tickets onto a phone, to avoid the queues and delays that social distancing will inevitably cause due to reduced capacity at our travel shops.”

The bus company’s survey recently found that more than 90% of passengers who could wear face coverings were wearing them.

What you need to know about school journeys

• Additional services will run from Sunday 30 August (Brighton & Hove) and Tuesday 1 September (Metrobus) to provide more capacity for social distancing and get children to school.

• Capacity is limited on regular bus services to support social distancing. Capacities are advertised on the side of buses by the front door and on the bus company’s website.

• Schoolchildren can still travel on regular buses, where they should follow social distancing and sit upstairs on double deck buses, if possible.

• These capacity limits do not apply on ‘schoolchildren only’ services, where children will not mix with the general public. However, the rear-facing seats and seats within 2m of the driver will remain closed off and there is no standing on any buses, except bendy buses.

• When travelling on ‘schoolchildren only’ services, children should sit in their school bubbles as defined by their school/Department for Education.

• Schoolchildren only services will carry schoolchildren and students up to the age of 18 only.

• Children aged 11 and over must wear a face covering, unless they are exempt. For more details, including exemptions, please click here. Metrobus provide free Helping Hand exemption cards to those who would like one.

• Metrobus have reduced cash handling to minimise contact and do not offer change. Please consider alternatives to cash, e.g. downloading tickets to your BusID online/Child Keycard, or loading tickets on to your phone.

• Details of all non-cash ways to pay for children’s journeys, including some new options, can be found here for Brighton & Hove and here for Metrobus. You can renew your Brighton & Hove BusID online here.

If you do pay in cash, a change voucher will be given, which can be used on further journeys.   

• To find out more detailed information around ticket types, bus times and school buses, please check our websites at buses.co.uk and metrobus.co.uk

Community

Grant ensures two Crawley playgrounds can remain open

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Crawley Borough Council has announced that two of its adventure playgrounds will remain open for supervised play this year following a one-off grant from the government.

The government has given every local authority a Lower Tier Services Grant so the council has decided to use this to keep Cherry Lane and Millpond adventure playgrounds open as supervised, open access play sites until the end of October half-term 2021 (subject to Covid-19 restrictions).

Millpond and Cherry Lane will operate with an online registration and booking system to create a Covid-secure environment and ensure that the adventure playgrounds are being used by Crawley children.

However, this grant is for one year only so after October, Cherry Lane Adventure Playground will move to unsupervised play.

After October half-term, Millpond Adventure Playground in Bewbush will close permanently. Creasys Drive Adventure Playground in Broadfield is already closed and will not reopen. The council will be bringing forward new unsupervised play facilities in Broadfield and Bewbush in due course.

Waterlea Adventure Playground will be refurbished and then reopen as an unsupervised play site in 2022.

The council will also bring in its new model of outreach play, which will look to move play activities into neighbourhoods and increase participation. This model will also:

  • Increase the range of play opportunities for children away from more traditional building-based activities
  • Reach groups that may not usually access services
  • Make use of buildings across the town and work in partnership with other existing groups and organisations.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“While the long-term impact of Covid-19 on council funding means adventure playgrounds will have to move to unsupervised play by 2022, I’m glad that this one-off funding means we can continue to provide supervised play until next winter, as we roll out our new outreach model.”

Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of the Opposition, said:

“I welcome this additional government funding that has enabled us to extend supervised play at two adventure playgrounds for this year, while we also work to refurbish Waterlea for unsupervised play for next year.”

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