Bus operator Xplore Dundee is preparing for “various scenarios” once social distancing restrictions are finally eased.
During the Covid-19 pandemic bus operators across the country have been working on a reduced service and encouraging members of the public not to use buses unless it is absolutely necessary.
However, as the UK enters its seventh week in lockdown, Xplore Dundee has said it is looking at a number of plans for how to return bus services in the city to normal.
A spokeswoman for the firm said: “Xplore Dundee, along with all other local transport operators, is in frequent dialogue with Transport Scotland and Dundee City Council on how we can provide a more comprehensive network to help people get back to regular travel safely once restrictions are eased.
“Of course this will very much depend on how and when restrictions are lifted but we are preparing various scenarios with this in mind.
“We’re grateful to our customers for exercising good social distancing during the pandemic and hope they will continue to bear with us as we adapt our services to a ‘new normal’ over the coming weeks.”
Dundee City Council has said discussions are ongoing to find a way forward in the coming months.
This week Graeme MacFarlane, commercial director of First Bus, said the current two metre distancing restrictions would be ‘unsustainable’ on public transport long term.
“As demand increases and we need to observe social distancing guidelines we do have to put more resource out.
“That means more buses, which is more costly so that is unsustainable in the longer period.”
But Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach, said the lockdown could provide an opportunity to improve transport links and boost city and town centres, while also improving the environment.
He said: “Covid-19 has taken a terrible toll on many people’s lives across the UK and overseas.
“But among all the human tragedy, the pandemic has given us a window on what could be a positive future world – one with dramatically fewer cars on our roads, safer streets, cleaner air and less damage to our environment.
“As the government examines how to take Britain out of lockdown, we must make Covid-19 a defining moment to deliver fundamental changes in how we manage mobility and put sustainability at the heart of decision-making.
“Public transport – particularly our regional bus networks – and active travel must be central to a transformed approach by all governments.
“The lockdown has shown how much the country is missing human contact.
“Buses provide that essential daily social link, helping combat loneliness and hidden mental health challenges.
“While some have switched to home working during Covid-19, for many that is not possible.
“Buses are delivering vital emergency links for key workers and they are as critical to our economy in normal times, linking everything from retail centres to manufacturing facilities.
“Leisure too is a shared experience that depends on extensive public transport connections.
“There is no reason why we all cannot return to safely using Britain’s most important public transport mode.
“Transitional support is an investment that will pay back many times over in helping our citizens, communities, economies and planet recover.”
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