Extra buses planned to reduce Covid-19 risk for children travelling to school in Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire County Council held a virtual press conference focusing on the re-opening of schools

Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 1:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 1:34 pm

Education bosses in Hertfordshire are to bring in 70 extra buses and coaches, in a bid to reduce the Covid-19 risk to pupils as they make the journey to and from school.

Around 40 of these additional vehicles will be ‘duplicate’ buses that will arrive at stops just a few minutes in advance of the usual commercial service.

And that will allow children to travel to school without sharing the space with members of the public who usually use the same service.

School stock image

The additional vehicles are part of a package of measures designed to make transport safer for those young people who travel to and from school on commercial vehicles or on those contracted by the county council.

And they were highlighted by Hertfordshire County Council’s strategy and policy manager Jayne Abery on Tuesday (August 25), at a virtual press conference focusing on the re-opening of schools next week.

In addition bus operators are said to have agreed to enhance their own cleaning regimes and to make hand sanitizer available to passengers.

And at the end of the school day, teachers will encourage pupils to wash and sanitise their hands before boarding a vehicle to get home.

Children will also board the buses on a ‘first-on, last-off’ basis, to avoid any unnecessary passing on the vehicle.

Outlining the changes, Ms Abery said pupils over the age of 11 would be required to wear face masks on public transport – and that they would be encouraged to do so on local authority contracted routes.

She said there would be a total of 70 additional buses and coaches from September – including the 40 that would duplicate existing buses services – at a cost in excess of £750,000.

And she said that for the first half-term this would be funded by the government.

Meanwhile executive member for education, libraries and localism Cllr Terry Douris stressed that wherever possible the council was suggesting that pupils walked or cycled to school.