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Extra buses help students travel to school safely

Published on Thursday, September 3, 2020

Flexi ticket promotional poster

STUDENTS returning to school in Leicester and Leicestershire can benefit from extra bus services to help them get to school safely.

Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council have been working closely with local bus companies to ensure that buses are a safe and reliable way for young people to get to school.

In the city, where students often use commercial bus routes to get to school, extra ‘school special’ services are being provided at peak times so that demand can be met while still ensuring enough space for social distancing.

It means that if a student can’t get on their usual bus because it’s at capacity, another bus or coach service will pick them up shortly.

In the county, lots of schools and the council run dedicated ‘school buses’. These are running as normal, but they are bolstered by extra commercial routes at peak times for those students who use commercial bus routes to get to school.

Students who buy a bus ticket for commercial routes are also being encouraged to buy a flexi saver ticket, which you can buy on a phone for contactless payment. These can be used anywhere in the greater Leicester area, covering all of Leicester city as well as Anstey, Birstall, Syston, Thurmaston, Oadby, Wigston, Whetstone, Leicester Forest East, Kirby Muxloe, Groby and Ratby. A map showing the area is available on the Choose How You Move website.

The flexi saver tickets are accepted by all major bus operators in the city and county, meaning students will have flexibility over which route they take and which bus company they use.

Weekly and monthly flexi saver tickets are available at promotional rates if you buy them through apps, rather than on the bus. And the flexi saver ticket can also be used outside of school hours, so a young person can also use it to travel on buses for other trips.

Any city student who gets free school travel will receive a flexi ticket for use on all major bus operators - Arriva, First Leicester, Centrebus, Kinchbus, Stagecoach and Roberts.

In Leicester, the city council is using £284,000 of Government funding to support bus companies with this extra provision. And in Leicestershire, the county council is putting £540,000 of Government funding into ensuring students can use buses as a safe and effective way of getting to school.

Cllr Adam Clarke, Leicester’s deputy city mayor responsible for transport, said: “We are working closely with our local bus operators to ensure young people can get to school safely and on time. Extra buses will be operating on busy public transport routes, to make up for the reduction in the numbers of passengers allowed on each vehicle due to social distancing measures.

“We hope this will provide reassurance for parents and families where young people use the bus to get to school. We’re pleased to be able to support our local bus companies with this extra funding to help them provide these services.”

Councillor Trevor Pendleton, Leicestershire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport said: “We want students to have the confidence to return to school safely and our bus network is a fundamental part of helping pupils further afield who are not able to walk, cycle or scoot to school.

“The funding we’ve collectively been awarded, which is being used to provide additional services, will help busy transport routes meet demand as schools return. We’re pleased to be supporting local bus companies and providing parents with reassurance that our transport network remains safe. We all have a role to play as communities return to a new routine and I’d encourage pupils using bus services to wear a face covering, unless exempt, and continue good hygiene practices.”

All public buses running in Leicester and Leicestershire have social distancing measures in place, with limited seating available. Buses are deep cleaned and sanitised daily. Although cash is accepted, contactless or mobile phone payment is preferred.

Students aged 11 and over are reminded that they must wear a face covering when travelling on public buses (unless exempt). Face coverings are also recommended on dedicated school bus services.

Students should also sanitise their hands before boarding a bus.

More information on the extra ‘school special’ services is available at www.choosehowyoummove.co.uk/schools

Maps to many secondary schools and colleges and details of flexi tickets – with promotional offers available until the end of September – are available at www.choosehowyoumove.co.uk/flexi

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