First Bus is introducing new timetables and increasing selected Bristol routes as lockdown restrictions are eased.
All buses using Bristol Bus Station will also be dropping passengers off outside of the station in order to reduce the number of people inside the building.
Services Y2 to Y5, 37, 177, 178 and 376 will from Sunday drop passengers off at Bond Street; services X1 to X9, 349, 39 and X39 will drop off at Lewins Mead; and service T2 will drop off at Stokes Croft
Customers with reduced mobility can continue to be dropped off at the bus station and be assisted by the driver as needed, exiting through the social distance barriers.
Additional changes also starting on Sunday aim to support passengers who need to use public transport to get to work, while continuing to maintain social distancing.
The region will get a share of an additional Government funding pot of £254m to support an increase in bus service levels across the country, as the social distancing measures reduce the capacity on board to just 25 per cent of the usual number of passengers.
James Freeman, managing director at First West of England, said: “We welcome the additional funding from the Department of Transport, which will enable us to increase services and support the continued wellbeing of our passengers and drivers through ensuring safe travel on our buses.
“This is critical as more employees start returning to work following the government’s announcement that non-essential shops can reopen in mid-June.”
All First buses are now fitted with new measures to ensure customers who need to travel can adhere to the Government social distancing guidelines. This includes signage to advise customers on where to sit and new technology to help drivers monitor the number of passengers on board at any one time.
Freeman continued: “We would ask that commuters and the general public only use the bus if they do not have any other option.
“Similarly, we hope employers across the region can play their role in reducing the strain on the bus network by continuing to support staff to work from home and allowing flexible working to avoid peak-hour travel if possible.”
The First Bus boss warned there are likely to be occasions when customers may not be able to board their intended bus due to capacity levels being reached. Passengers are advised to check their journey details in advance, avoid busier periods and allow extra time for journeys as they may need to wait if their bus is full when it arrives.
He added: “The wellbeing of our passengers and drivers is our number one priority, and we would like to thank customers for their ongoing patience and co-operation in these difficult times. As the lockdown continues to ease, we all have a crucial role to play in getting the region moving again safely.”
The new timetables will see a slight increase in frequency on many First services. Weekend services will continue to run on selected routes only to match customer demand.
The m3 metrobus service will be temporarily replaced by the m3X, which is similar but does not stop at UWE Bristol, Stoke Park or Begbrook. Customers who need to use these stops for onward travel can change at Hambrook or take the m1 metrobus service.
Information on all new service changes is available via www.firstgroup.com/coronaviruswoe.