News

Separation enforced at bus terminal

Physical-distancing measures will be in place when buses return to the roads today, the Government confirmed.

A spokesman for the transport ministry said “passenger capacity on buses has been reduced”.

He added: “The number of passengers directed to the departure bay will strictly match the capacity of the bus operating on that route.”

The spokesman did not confirm how many people would be allowed on a bus at the same time. The update came in a press release to highlight physical-distancing measures bus riders must follow while at the Hamilton Bus Terminal.

The spokesman said: “Passengers waiting for departing buses will line up on the Church Street sidewalk for routes 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, and the Victoria Street sidewalk for routes 1, 2, 3 and 4.”

He added that passengers should distance themselves from each other while standing in line and must wear a face covering.

The spokesman said: “Signage and ground paint has been applied to indicate the requirement for physical-distancing in each passenger line, at each departure bay, and the cashier’s kiosk.”

He added that security personnel would be stationed at the terminal entrances on Church and Victoria streets and that access would not be permitted from the opposite side of Washington Street.

The spokesman said: “When departing buses are ready to board, security guards will announce the departure and by a show of hands identify passengers wishing to travel on that route. Passengers will then be directed to the correct bay while maintaining social distancing.”

He added that the temporary bus schedule could be found online on the Department of Transportation’s website. The spokesman said that passengers will be able to use March passes until the end of the month.

Monthly passes for April and May may be exchanged for June, July or August passes only. All exchanges must be made at the Hamilton Bus Terminal by June 21.

David Burt, the Premier, announced on Monday that buses would be back in action today. He said at the time that more talks were expected to take place between transport department representatives and the Ministry of Health.

Mr Burt explained that all passengers would have to wear a face mask and keep at least three feet apart when seated. He said buses would be limited to a maximum of 17 passengers and no one would be allowed to stand.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said at Monday’s Covid-19 press conference that the three-feet distance, instead of the six feet required elsewhere, was approved by public health officials as public transport was “an essential activity for the resumption of work and economic life”.

She added: “Its necessity justifies the risk as it is mitigated by the mandatory wearing of masks.”