Changes to bus services

As you may now be aware, the Stagecoach bus services in the Chichester, Bognor Regis, Littlehampton and Portsmouth areas are now back up to around 80% of the former timetable. As a proud bus driver, I wanted to pass on the following information to help us all.

From Monday 15th June, the 09:30 start time for Older Person’s Bus Passes will be reinstated. The Government are also asking that everyone wears a face covering whilst using public transport. The driver may not be wearing a mask, as they are protected by their security screen. It may be more difficult for the driver to hear you because of this, and it’s very frustrating for everyone. We do understand that.

There are advisory social distancing restrictions placed on buses at the moment – it is recommended that only 11 people travel on a single decker bus, and 20 on a double decker. Please do travel upstairs if you are physically able to, as there is more space. Please always check the front of the bus destination screen – the display may say “Bus Full” and you may need to wait for the next bus if so. If you are a passenger on the bus that has to leave someone behind, please be reassured that we don’t like doing it, and it is very hard. We would never leave anyone behind without good reason, so please be kind.

Stagecoach have launched an app for smartphone users to check how busy their service is, allowing people to wait for less congested services – I really recommend using this app, if you have the smartphone capability.

To protect the drivers and yourself, Stagecoach buses are only accepting exact fares, so any change over the price of the ticket that you require will be donated to NHS charities working to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Contactless or pass payments are very much encouraged, but if you do need to pay cash, please place it directly into the tray provided by the driver. You won’t be able to get a change voucher, as previously issued, as no driver is currently carrying cash. But we will always take vulnerable passengers, and look after those that just really need to get home…

And finally, from a driver and not a politician, please only travel if your journey is absolutely essential. It’s not only risking your health, but my health, and everyone else on the bus. Drivers have few and far between opportunities to wash our hands. We want you to be safe, and to be safe ourselves. Take care

Stonepillow’s Little Big Sleep Out

So, the Little Big Sleep Out for Stonepillow has begun, and as I write this post, my fundraising total stands at an amazing £224, so huge thanks first and foremost to all those who have so kindly donated so far.

I also have to thank those who have made it happen, be it via finding me a lovely warm, quiet and safe double decker bus to borrow for the evening at my workplace, or kindly giving me a sleeping bag and groundmat to be more comfortable when I sleep.

Sadly, these are not luxuries that everyone who needs Stonepillow’s vital services often have, and I am reminded that when I’m undoubtedly grumbling in the cold light of tomorrow morning about my stiff muscles and lack of sleep, that this is too many people’s reality, night after night. This is why the work Stonepillow do for the homeless and vulnerable in the Chichester area is so crucial, and why, now more than ever, funds are so badly in need. As the homeless begin to return to the streets after being temporarily housed in our empty hotels, their need for support is greater than ever.

If you can donate to anyone taking part in this event tonight, you will be helping some of those people, who are in the most need in this difficult times.