Coronavirus: First Bus pilots online booking service in Bristol

First Bus at stop Image copyright First Bus Group
Image caption First Bus is piloting the scheme in Bristol

A bus operator has launched what it describes as a “pioneering” new booking system in response to coronavirus.

First Bus is piloting the scheme in Bristol and rolling it out across areas of the West Country in August.

Bookings can be made up to seven days in advance via the Book My Bus Ride website.

With capacity onboard reduced due to social distancing, the reservation will secure a space on the chosen bus rather than a specific seat.

Customers travelling on the Brislington park-and-ride service can now book a seat ahead of their journey.

This will be extended to journeys from Batheaston to Weston in Bath and between Bristol and Thornbury next month.

Managing director of First Bus James Freeman said the company was “pioneering new ways of travelling by bus to make it the smartest way to move around the region”.

“As the way we all live and work adjusts to the ‘new normal’, so must public transport too,” he said.

“With capacity on-board currently reduced to support social distancing, we hope this new optional booking service will help to reassure customers.”

‘Choice and flexibility’

The initiative is being launched in partnership with the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).

West of England mayor Tim Bowles called it a “terrific” service.

“I’m determined to keep our region moving and make sure the West of England leads the country on using technology to improve our public transport – giving people greater choice and flexibility in how they travel,” he said.

The government’s current coronavirus guidance advises people who use public transport to book tickets online in advance.

The website will go live on Monday at 18:00 BST.

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