Did commercial bus service operation end in March without anyone realising? Professional busman ERNEST NORTH thinks it might have done and ponders how the industry will have to adapt to its quite different post-pandemic future

A notice from DRM Bus in Ledbury in August spelling out the reality of its services as lockdown restrictions were eased.

As I left my workplace one summer’s evening, watching lightly loaded buses leaving town in what throughout my lifetime has been the traditional evening peak period, a thought entered my head. Did commercial operation slip away from Britain one evening last March without anybody realising? 

Writing this in October on the 34th anniversary of deregulation, more areas of the UK are coming under stricter lockdown measures in an effort to contain the virus, the Welsh government has decreed that bus services should be reduced to help enforce its firebreak lockdown, the NHS is gearing up for a challenging winter and the media is again telling people to avoid public transport. 

The bus industry, helped massively by government financial support, has maintained essential services throughout the pandemic and has reacted quickly and efficiently to rapidly changing circumstances, as services were reduced and subsequently ramped up again. It has worked hard to control costs and contain government funding. 


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