First Bus ‘encouraged’ by passenger return rates

With schools and universities restarting in the UK, First Bus says it has “recorded an encouraging acceleration in the rate of patronage recovery in recent weeks.”

Passenger volumes across the division have increased from c.10% of pre-pandemic levels at the low point to more than 50% last week, it said in a statement to the Stock Market this morning (15 September).

The division has recently increased operated mileage to almost 90% of pre-pandemic levels to provide more capacity as demand increases, even as social distancing restrictions remain in place.

In August the UK Government announced an extension of funding to support the provision of vital services by regional bus operators in England.

The COVID-19 Bus Service Support Grant Restart (CBSSG Restart) programme is now in place on a rolling basis until such time as it is no longer needed, with an eight-week notice period.

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