Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has been making preparations for moving into Phase 2 and has provided an updated route map for Western Isles Transport.
The next step will be to allow increased access to public bus services while maintaining control of passenger numbers. This will be achieved by extending the scope of the current booking system but also moving closer to a regular timetabled service.
It is intended that service changes to public buses will commence on Monday 29 June 2020. Details of the available services and how to book will be issued on Wednesday 25 June 2020.
The guidance has now changed to make face coverings compulsory. From Monday 22 June 2020, passengers will only be permitted to travel on public transport if they are wearing appropriate face covering. Exceptions will apply, such as young children or for those with health conditions for whom a face covering would be inappropriate. Passengers will be expected to provide their own face coverings.
Face coverings will be required for all passengers booked on key worker transport from Monday 22 June 2020.
Good hygiene regimes remain important to protect against COVID-19. Face-coverings are not intended to help the wearer, but to protect against inadvertent transmission of the disease to others.
It is vital that passengers do not see facemasks as an alternative, but as an addition to other measures such as social distancing, hand washing and disinfection of surfaces frequently touched by other people. Following social distancing and hand washing guidelines is more effective than wearing a mask.
Operators will be asked to display prominent signage on buses that physical distancing should be maintained and that face coverings should be worn.
Travel on public transport should only be used for essential journeys. During Phase 2, workers will continue to be given priority on the services running at the start and end of the day. Requests for shopping or short distance leisure travel would be accommodated by the mid-morning/mid-afternoon services which are less likely to have many travelling workers.
Increased cleaning regimes for buses will be carried out, especially when buses are used for different groups of passengers and for routes between different communities.