Additional funding secured to continue extra school bus services through Christmas half term
Greater Manchester has secured a further £2.4m to continue running additional school bus services for the second half of the Autumn term, to make sure schoolchildren can get to school safely.
As capacity on public transport during peak times continues to be limited due to social distancing measures, 300 duplicate services that were introduced at the start of the autumn term have received funding to continue running until the end of the Christmas term.
Duplicate buses exclusively for school and college students currently run behind the original scheduled service at set times, with the usual route number starting in ‘S’ to show they are school services.
In the past five weeks, to 9 October , over 7,258 trips have been taken using them, providing a service for around 137,844 children to get to school safely and on time, helping to ease pressure on the public transport network when it is at its busiest.
While students using dedicated school bus services are not required to wear a face covering as they would be on a commercial service, we strongly encourage everyone to wear a face covering for the entire journey and follow additional guidance to:
- Keep a safe distance apart (1m+)
- Wash or sanitise your hands frequently (before and after travel)
- Use contactless payment
An initial £2m was secured by TfGM from the Department of Education in August, to provide extra bus seats during the first half term as students returned to schools. This saw 300 services, in areas identified as having the highest number of school children travelling, across the morning and afternoon peaks, duplicated to relieve pressure on the commercial public transport network.
Chair of the Greater Manchester Transport Committee, Councillor Mark Aldred, said: “Approximately 90% of schoolchildren who use the bus to get to and from school travel on the commercial network, so this funding is vital to helping us get children to school safely and on time, without adding further pressure to an already limited bus network.
“For those that depend on public transport for their journeys, hopefully these extra services will provide peace of mind that services are available and safe to use as we head into the winter months. However, I must remind people that everyone has a role to play in following safety rules and how and when they travel, following the guidance will make a big impact.”
Yellow School Buses will also be running without a pass system in place – meaning they will operate as regular school buses, so any schoolchild can use them.
TfGM has set up a dedicated web page at tfgm.com/duplicate-school-buses, where parents, carers and students can find all the latest information on the extra services.
To help those returning to school in September do so safely, TfGM has created a Back to School hub at tfgm.com/schools where parents and pupils can find the latest information on timetables, tickets, school bus services and further information on cycling and walking.
A number of changes to commercial bus services will also come into effect from Sunday 25 October, full details can be found on the TfGM website.
For information on public transport across Greater Manchester visit www.tfgm.com, call 0161 244 1000 (7am-8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am-8pm at weekends and bank holidays) or follow @OfficialTfGM on Twitter.
Transport for Greater Manchester Press Office
0161 244 1055