Keeping buses clean, safe and ready to go 17/08/2020

10/06/2020

CPT’s latest blog post has been written by Transdev Blazefield CEO Alex Hornby, who recaps what the past few months have been like at Transdev, and talks about getting bus services ready for travel in a post-Covid environment.

The past few months have been challenging and rewarding in equal measure; feelings I am sure are replicated by many in the bus industry. Here at Transdev, an army of the most dedicated people you could wish to share a company with have stepped up to the mark without exception or being asked twice. Their reward has been one of generous kindness and serious recognition in the community, often held up to a similar plateau of our remarkable NHS workers, as our role in keeping key workers moving – and providing some of the only element of normality people got to see in the early days of lockdown – has been extremely gratifying and motivational for us all.

We have been here to serve and reassure customers, many who desperately need us and have no other choice of travel – or are fierce champions of the bus and choose us over the car, and we have acted at pace to ensure buses are clean and safe. Our 700-strong responses to local research shows that, for what must be the first time ever, cleanliness has overtaken punctuality as the customer’s number one demand.

We have been very keen that whatever we do in terms of our actions throughout the ‘Covid experience’ have been to stay true to our brand and our principles. We have long employed a thorough cleaning regime, including mid-journey cleans, but have now stepped up our game. We have also spent millions in the past few years diligently creating an environment on board our buses that is – as we say – a place “people want to be seen”. We do not want to throw any of these values away as we keep services going and as we rebuild and attract people back to the bus.

Our Clean, Safe and Ready to Go campaign highlights our enhanced efforts. We have considered the latest advice from the Department for Transport, bus manufacturers and the HSE and widely marketed our regime via a series of new video clips – showing our people hard at work, illustrating the many cleaning ‘pit stops’ a bus would experience during the day, focussing on the touch points of customers and colleagues, concluding with a thorough deep clean and anti-viral misting for every bus, every night.

Each vehicle and driver has a cleaning pack so that colleagues can wipe down any well-used surfaces and, needless to say, all the team have complete access to visors, washable face coverings, gloves and hand sanitisers. All buses are fitted with a canister of sanitiser to help reassure customers, and we have closed seats nearest the driver and the limited number we have that face backwards.

On board and at bus stops, we illustrate clear, but friendly and well-illustrated information to aid customer confidence and ‘normalise’ bus travel as best we can. ‘Crime scene’ comms and yellow & black tape is banned here at Transdev. Social distancing is encouraged on board via polite and friendly signage, and limiting seating capacity. We are clear that we should make the experience of bus travel as comfortable as we can, just as we always would. We have created a further film that shows the journey of a customer – from arriving at a bus stop, the people they can expect to help them along the way, the helpful features of our Transdev Go app – including the ability to check how many seats are available on their bus – and, as we conclude, that buses can be as nice as they always were.

As we now gear up for the resurgence of bus travel in a post-Covid environment we firmly remain focussed on the opportunities and positive legacies of what has undoubtedly been a difficult time for us all. We are not out of the woods whilst social distancing remains and the impact of the blanket and unhelpful advice of “avoiding public transport” advice is felt, but the eyes must remain on the prize of how the bus can remain the solution to the ultimately bigger threat of climate change. We must remain inside the active travel discussion – cycling and walking can help us overcome congestion and be our first/last mile solution - and how we can be the key to our towns and cities moving freely and easily. Clean, Safe and Ready to Go.

You can follow Alex on Twitter @alextransdev and keep up to date with the latest Transdev Blazefield news and campaigns.