NEW measures come in this weekend to ensure people can social distance on board First York buses.

Marc Bichtemann, managing director of First York, said the new measures mean there will be far fewer seats available; ten or 12 on a single decker that normally can carry between 50and 60 people and on a double decker about 20 instead of a capacity of between 80 and 90.

He said passengers will be clearly directed to only use seats that are at an appropriate distance from each other, with some seating available for people travelling together or with children. 

To help drivers, a facility has been added to the ticket machine that allows drivers to count passengers on and off and which advises them what, if any, available capacity remains. Where a bus is full, the driver will show a “SORRY BUS FULL” display on the destination screen.

Mr Bichtemann said: “This is about us working together with the customers to help keep everyone safe. There will be an element where customers will be relied upon to respect social distancing.

“We are encouraging people to wear face masks. We know that not everyone can wear them and those people will still be allowed to travel. We want people, if they can, to wear face coverings and pay contactless where possible.”

He said there are no plans to increase fares, despite the huge reduction in passenger numbers.


He said: “We’re really focusing more on the immediate challenge of maintaining bus services and social distancing.”

Mr Bichtemann also said that it is impossible to tell just how long the changes will remain in place. He went on to say that as customer numbers are still very low in York, people shouldn’t be left standing at stops because a bus is full, and additional buses have been put on standby as the number of passengers increases.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Executive Member for Transport, said: “City of York Council are working with the bus operators on how to achieve social distancing at bus stops. We have identified a number of busy bus stops where measures will be worked up to ensure more space for queuing passengers.”