Extra buses for safety as district’s pupils go back to school
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Last updated Sep 3, 2020
36 bus in Harrogate

Extra buses will be provided by North Yorkshire County Council next week to reduce the risk of coronavirus among pupils using public transport go back to school.

The local authority has also introduced additional bus safety measures, such as asking pupils aged over 11 to wear face coverings.

Most buses will operate according to their usual timetable. But some additional journeys will take place on public service routes from next week to minimise contact among passengers as the number of pupils and commuters increases.

In Harrogate, the following additional services will be in place from September 7:

  • Service 36 Leeds – Harrogate – Ripon: Extra journeys between Leeds and Harrogate will occur during morning rush hour to accommodate additional commuters and students.
  • Service 1 Harrogate – Knaresborough. An additional journey has been added to this service from Harrogate to King James’ School, which is reserved for pupils only. It will depart from Harrogate at 7.56am and return from King James’ School at 3.25pm.
  • Service 24 Pateley Bridge – Harrogate. A new timetable and journey to Nidderdale High School has been added. An additional bus, 24S, is reserved for school and college students. It will depart Pateley Bridge at 7.20am to Harrogate and continue to St Aidan’s and St John Fisher schools. A journey from St John Fisher and St Aidan’s schools to Pateley Bridge will return in the afternoon.

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Different safety measures will apply on school buses to those on public transport.

Social distancing is not required on school buses on the grounds that the vehicles will carry the same group of children regularly and no members of the public travel with them.

But school bus users will be asked to avoid unnecessary contact with other pupils by, for example, trying to sit in the same seat with the same group of pupils every day. Pupils aged over 11 are also encouraged to wear face coverings.

Cllr Patrick Mulligan, executive member for education at NYCC, said:

“We would like to reassure parents and pupils that everything possible is being done to enable children to return to school and education as swiftly as possible, as well as minimise the risk of spreading the virus. The instructions for travelling on school buses and straight forward and largely the same as if you were visiting a shop or other public place.

“We expect that things will soon feel second nature to pupils and they can settle back into their school routine quickly.”