Published: 20:20, 15 January 2021
| Updated: 20:30, 15 January 2021
Bus services across Kent are set to change from Sunday, with slight reductions to service levels on most routes.
Stagecoach are making the temporary changes at the request of the government, and the operator worked with Kent County Council on the reduced timetable.
Despite the alterations, Stagecoach hopes journeys for key workers will be preserved and that there will be sufficient service for essential trips.
Furthermore bus routes will incorporate vaccination centres to support the rollout.
Stagecoach managing director Joel Mitchell said: “Maintaining essential transport links is vitally important to our communities and it heartens me that in this lockdown we’re able to offer a greater number of services compared to the first lockdown last year.”
“This time we will be running around 75% of our normal service levels, retaining key local journeys that our customers told us were vital to them."
Services will return to a relatively normal level once the vaccination programme advances and Covid incidence declines.
Mr Mitchell reminded people not to make unnecessary journeys and to wear face coverings on buses.
He added, “I’m tremendously proud of our 1,300 remarkable and dedicated colleagues that have been through the turmoil of the last year along with everyone else, but maintain a determination to show-up, day-in-day out, to serve their community.”
Another change being made by Stagecoach is that - from Monday - concessionary bus passes can be used before the 9.30am threshold to enable elderly and vulnerable people to aid in essential shopping and vaccinations.
A measure Stagecoach has run since the pandemic's start is not providing change and preferring card payments.
Although cash is accepted, overpayments are instead donated to Demelza Hospice Care for Children.
The policy has so far collected over £56,000 for the charity.