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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

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New £100k pedestrian crossing for families’ taking children to school installed in West Green

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West Green Primary School Business Manager Annette pictured trying the new crossing with her daughter before the school reopened.

A new pedestrian crossings has been installed in the past few months and is now operational, helping families with the walk to a school in West Green.

The crossing in Crawley cost £100,00 and is aimed to improve safety for families with school-age children – plus pedestrians generally.

With schools reopening and roads becoming busier after lockdown, people are being encouraged to leave their cars at home and consider other travel choices.

Roger Elkins, Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said:

“The new crossings provide a safer route to schools for families and to other local amenities for pedestrians generally.

“People are being encouraged to consider walking or cycling for their journeys, if they can. It’s a great way to get fit, save fuel money and reduce the number of cars on the road. This in turn will improve air quality and reduce congestion.”

West Green Primary School requested the Puffin crossing for West Green Drive and worked with the county council’s transport improvements team to build the case for road safety improvements.

Other enhancements had already been introduced, including ‘School Keep Clear’ markings, to provide pupils and parents with a safer environment.

Throughout this process, West Green continued to provide pupils with road safety education and encourage sustainable travel.

West Green Primary School Business Manager Annette Tomsett said:

“The school is delighted to have worked closely with West Sussex County Council in bringing to fruition this crossing. It will make a huge difference in the safe route to school for our pupils and families, alongside having a positive impact for the whole community for now and for the future.”

The improvements cost a total of about £100,000.

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