Coronavirus FAQs

Regularly updated frequently asked questions to help you stay informed

Last updated 27th October 2020

Our Coronavirus frequently asked questions feature everything you need to know to stay informed on the latest government guidance about bus travel and travelling safely.

The UK government has issued graphics to explain the new Tier 1-3 monitoring systems now in place throughout England. To help you understand how this affects your area, please see the following PDFs for very high risk areashigh risk areas and medium risk areas.

Can't find the answer to your question here? Contact us!

How to contact us

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Talk to our Customer Service or Press teams

1. How do I contact Customer Service about timetables and travelling on the revised services?

Our Customer Service team are on hand to assist you regarding your travel. You can call us on 0344 800 44 11 - lines are open from 08.00 to 17.00 Monday to Friday. We are online via social and web chat from 08.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday and available via social from 10.00 to 16.00 at weekends.

2. I have a press enquiry - how do I contact you?

For press enquiries, please go to our contact us page or email us on [email protected]. Our phone number is 03455 01010. Please note: our Press team cannot answer timetable enquiries. If your enquiry is concerning tickets or timetables, please call our Customer Service team on 0344 800 44 11.

Face coverings and social distancing

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Find out the latest information on how to stay safe

1. What are the rules around face coverings?

All bus passengers in England and Wales must wear a face covering. Face coverings must also be worn when inside transport hubs which includes bus stations, interchanges or travel shops. We have updated our conditions of carriage which can be found here.

  • Please remember to bring a face covering for your journey as without one you will be unable to travel
  • A face covering can be very simple, like a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head to give a snug fit. It just needs to cover your mouth and nose
  • Please put your face covering on before boarding the bus or entering a transport hub and wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on
  • Please wear your face covering throughout the duration of your journey, including when disembarking the bus
  • If you need a drink or to take medication while travelling or when inside a transport hub, please do so quickly and be mindful of others
  • To keep everyone safe, please store a used face covering in a plastic bag and take it home

The English government has issued guidance notes on how to make and wear your own face covering that can be found here. The Welsh government has issued guidance that can be found here.

2. We all have a legal obligation to follow the face covering rules

All of our drivers in England and Wales have been advised to inform our customers who are not wearing a face covering upon boarding the bus that they are required to do so by law, throughout their entire journey, unless they are exempt. If a customer is not exempt and refuses to wear a face covering, then our drivers have been instructed to explain to the customer that they are breaking the law and that the police have powers to impose a fine of up to £200 in England and £60 in Wales (which doubles for each subsequent offence up to a maximum of £1920). Our drivers report all failures to comply with government policy to their Depot Management team to allow us to closely monitor the situation and advise the authorities.

Our conditions of carriage have been amended to convey this policy and can be found here.

3. Who is exempt from wearing a face covering?

Following an Equalities Impact Assessment, exemptions will apply to those with:

  • Breathing difficulties and other respiratory conditions
  • Conditions effecting their dexterity, meaning they are not able to put on a face covering
  • Mental health conditions such as anxiety or panic disorders
  • Other non-visible disabilities such as autism
  • Cognitive impairments, including dementia, who may not understand or remember the need to wear a face covering
  • Visual impairments, with a restricted field of vision, particularly if any residual vision is at the lower edge of the normal field of view
  • Impairments which would make it difficult to put on or take off a face covering safely, accurately, consistently or without pain
  • The exemptions also apply to those who rely on lip reading. This would include carers who are travelling with someone for whom a face covering will inhibit communication

4. Are children exempt from wearing a face covering?

Young children under the age of 11 or children on dedicated school transport services are exempt.

5. Why aren't all your drivers wearing face coverings?

As our drivers sit behind screens that separate them from customers, they do not need to wear a face covering whilst they are in their cab.

6. Is there support for me to show other people that I am exempt?

Yes, we have a range of Journey Assistance cards that are available for anyone that needs support when travelling. We have added two new cards to the pack for you, which read:

  • "Please be supportive. I have a disability and I am exempt from wearing a face covering. Thank you!”
  • “Please be supportive. I have a health condition and I am exempt from wearing a face covering. Thank you!”

The cards can be downloaded here.

7. If I am a wheelchair user or require assistance due to a disability, will I still be able to get on the bus with social distancing in place?

It is really important to us that we continue to support all of our customers who wish to use our services. Whilst seats within 2 metres of the driver are currently taped off, wheelchair spaces will always remain available.

Rest assured, if you require support with boarding our buses, our drivers are following the below steps to ensure social distancing and your safety are maintained whilst they are providing you with assistance:

  • The driver will wear a face covering and sanitise their hands before leaving their cab
  • The driver will politely ask you to maintain a 1 metre plus distance whilst they put the ramp in place
  • The driver will limit the time they are within 1 metres plus of you to ensure this is kept to an absolute minimum
  • In exceptional circumstances where the driver is unable to leave their cab to offer you assistance, they will politely explain why they are unable to help you

8. Will you be providing hand sanitisers on your buses?

We are carrying out additional cleaning of the main customer touch-points on our buses and reminding customers and drivers of the importance of hygiene good practice. We are not currently looking to roll out hand sanitisers on our services.

9. What are you doing to help with social distancing onboard and at bus stops?

We are supporting the latest government guidance around social distancing measures to help keep you, our drivers and our buses safe. We have placed very clear signage onboard that shows you what you need to do to stay safe, which includes our social distancing poster. Please follow this guidance when travelling with us. We also have lots on information on staying safe at the bus stop and onboard within our animated video which can be found here.

  • Face coverings must be worn onboard
  • Some people will be exempt from wearing a face covering - see below for a full list
  • Carry hand sanitiser with you if possible
  • Please keep windows open to help with ventilation
  • Please pay by contactless or via our Arriva Bus UK app – only pay by cash if you have the exact change as our drivers cannot issue change
  • Do not stand or queue in the aisle of the bus or next to the bus driver
  • Please be patient and wait for passengers to get off the bus before you board
  • Keep a 1 metre plus distance away from other people at bus stops

We have also implemented social distancing measures to help protect our drivers and customers wherever possible. This includes:

  • Taping off seats within 2 metres of the driver (however wheelchair spaces will always remain available)
  • Ensuring all services are operated by buses with screens

10. Are there ways that I can pay that will limit my physical contact with drivers?

Yes. To help reduce the amount of physical contact between our customers and drivers, all Arriva customers are being asked to only use contactless payment or the digital Arriva Bus UK app. Arriva drivers will not be able to provide change to customers and any overpayment of fares will be donated to the NHS Covid-19 Appeal, which is supporting NHS staff and volunteers. Cash will only be accepted as a form of payment in exceptional circumstances and where the correct fare can be paid. The safety of our colleagues and customers remains our number one priority and we will continue to monitor and adjust our approach as and when the situation evolves.

We offer our customers a full range of non-cash payment methods including contactless, buying tickets online, our Arriva Bus UK app and smart cards. Choosing one of these options will allow you to board the bus with a simple tap or ticket scan, limiting physical contact for both yourself and our drivers. Contactless payment is accepted for all transactions under £30 on our buses. All tickets available onboard can be purchased via contactless. All you need is a contactless-enabled card or mobile device with Apple Pay or Google Pay installed and ready to use. Our Arriva Bus UK app allows you to purchase and activate your m-tickets before you travel, then you simply place the screen of your mobile device under the scanner when you board. You can buy Multi-Journey Saver tickets and Student Saver tickets quickly and securely through our online store. For more information, click on the links below:

  • Find out all the ways you can buy all of our tickets here
  • Find out how to pay using contactless here
  • Find out how to pay using m-tickets here
  • Find out how to pay using a smart card here

11. How are you protecting your drivers?

We are being guided every step of the way by expert organisations such as the World Health Organisation and Public Health England on measures to put in place to protect our staff. While the use of masks and gloves is not currently recommended for transport workers by the expert organisations, we have taken other measures to protect their health and well being and those of our passengers.

In line with the rest of the bus industry, we already operate a cleaning regime whereby our buses are cleaned every day. In response to Covid-19, we have enhanced our cleaning regimes such that, all touch-point surfaces, both on our buses and in our facilities, are thoroughly cleaned with a suitable disinfectant every day.

We have also implemented social distancing measures across our services to help protect our drivers and customers wherever possible. We ask all customers to please follow these social distancing guidelines throughout your journey with us to ensure you, our drivers and our buses are safe.

To further help implement social distancing, we have taped off seats within 2 metres of the driver to ensure we are adhering to the latest government guidance and have moved furniture in the driver’s recreational areas to increase spacing during breaks. The vast majority of our fleet already have protective screens fitted and where this is not the case, these vehicles have been removed from service or have had screens installed. We have also covered up the holes in these screens to offer our drivers further protection.

We appreciate everything our drivers are doing to ensure that other key workers are able to make necessary journeys and will continue to protect their health and well being as our highest priority.

12. What measures do you have in place if the virus continues to spread?

We have in place a dedicated team which is closely monitoring and managing the current situation. Our priority is to protect the safety of our customers and our own employees.

Covid-19 continues to challenge and disrupt life globally, with governments the world over implementing significant measures to reduce the spread of the virus and the harm it causes.

From the beginning, Arriva UK Bus has followed the overarching principle that our priority is to protect customers and colleagues by following UK government advice which is informed by expert organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England (PHE), and approved by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty.

We continue to follow and monitor this advice closely, and will continue to adapt our approach in line with this advice, making changes when, and only when, this advice evolves or changes.

Travelling with us

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Information on our services, refunds and how to plan your journey

1. Are all bus services continuing to run as normal?

As government guidance changes and local restrictions and advice come into effect, our increased service levels across our network will remain in place to keep you on the move. Find out more about our service levels in your region here. Please also keep checking our website, our new Arriva UK Bus app and social media channels for the latest updates. Please note, our roadside timetables may not be up to date so please refer to our journey planner on our website or the Arriva UK Bus app to plan your journey and follow buses in real-time.

2. How will the ‘Fire Break’ lockdown in Wales affect your services?

Following the announcement of a ‘Fire Break’ lockdown in Wales from the 23rd October and in line with government guidance, our services in Wales will continue to run at the current level. We will continue to monitor demand during the first week and, if necessary, make service adjustments.

3. Can I still travel on the bus in Wales?

Journeys on our buses should only be made for essential travel. If you need to travel, you must wear a face covering onboard for the entire journey, unless you are exempt. Please follow social distancing guidance at all times. For further information visit: www.gov.wales

4. When is the best time for me to travel?

If you can, please try to avoid early morning or early evenings and avoid the last service of the day. This will help us ensure we can get as many customers and key workers to their destinations whilst adhering to social distancing capacity guidance. Leave yourself plenty of time and plan your journey using our website, where you will be able to find up to date information on your local service or follow buses in real time via the Arriva UK Bus app.

Please ensure you have alternative means of transport available to you if you are vulnerable or at risk in case we are unable to allow you onboard. We currently have strict capacity guidelines that we must adhere to and we are unable to exceed those numbers, even if it is the last service of the day. You can download the Arriva UK Bus app here. Or stay in touch via social - access our regional Facebook and Twitter pages here.

5. How are you responding to the change in lockdown measures and more people starting to travel?

As government guidance changes and local restrictions and advice come into effect, our increased service levels across our network will remain in place to keep you on the move. Find out more about our service levels in your region here. Please also keep checking our website, our new Arriva UK Bus app and social media channels for the latest updates.

6. How are your services affected by the government's new Tier 1-3 monitoring system?

The UK government has issued graphics to explain the new Tier 1-3 monitoring systems now in place throughout England. To help you understand how this affects your area, please see the following PDFs for very high risk areas, high risk areas and medium risk areas. For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-announces-new-local-covid-alert-levels

7. Are you refunding customers?

At this time our standard refund policy applies. Our process for refunds for tickets purchased before 30th March 2020 is as follows:

  • For customers with long term tickets (Annual, Academic Year), we will extend the validity of your ticket for the duration of time that you have been unable to use it
  • Where possible, we will provide credit in the form of an m-ticket via our new Arriva UK Bus app. For those without access to a smart phone, credit will be provided in the form of vouchers
  • We won’t charge any admin fees for refunds or credits processed during this time
  • To request a ticket extension or credit in the form of an m-ticket or voucher, please call Customer Service on 0344 800 4411 to speak to an advisor (lines are open Monday to Friday 8am - 5pm) or click here to fill out our contact form. We will endeavour to process your request within 10 working days of receipt

8. I need help understanding the new timetables, how can I find out more?

We have put together a guide on how to read our timetables here. If you need further help, please give us a call on 0344 800 44 11.

9. Are you offering free travel for key workers in England?

Our teams are working hard to keep critical services running and key workers moving. At present, our normal ticketing policy still applies.

10. Are you offering free travel for key workers in Wales?

Arriva Buses Wales NHS free travel finished on Friday 11th September 2020. Our normal ticketing policy now applies.

11. Can I still buy tickets at Arriva Travel Shops?

We have recently reopened our London Victoria Travel shop, however all others on the list below remain closed. We hope that this is a temporary measure.

London Victoria
Fountain Square, Colonade Walk, Buckingham Palace Road, SW1W 9SS
Leicester
St. Margaret’s Bus Station, Gravel Street, Leicester, LE1 3AG
Milton Keynes 
MKube, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 3GB
Luton
Luton Travel Centre, Station Road, Luton, LU1 2LT
Telford 
Telford Travel Centre, Telford Bus Station, Northfield Road, Telford, TF3 4BU
Middlesbrough
Unit 7 Newport Road Bus Station, Middlesbrough, TS1 5EA
Stockton
109 High Street, Stockton, TS18 1BB
Guildford
Unit 12 The Friary Centre, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4QT
Newcastle
Kiosk no.3 and part kiosk No.2 , Haymarket, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE2 1QS
Hemel Hempstead
221 Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP1 1BL
Southend
Southend Bus Station, 20 Short Street, Southend, Essex, SS2 5BY
Wakefield
Wakefield Bus Station, Marsh Way, Wakefield, WF1 3AQ
Dewsbury
Dewsbury Bus Station, Aldams Road, Dewsbury. WF12 9AG
High Wycombe 
Eden Bus Station, Bridge Street, High Wycombe. HP11 2EL    

12. I am a leader for a business, how do I get in touch to discuss our requirements during this time?

Please email the Business Development team at [email protected].

Keeping our buses safe and clean

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How we keep our buses clean and measures you can take

1. Are you carrying out additional cleaning on your services?

In line with the rest of the industry, we already operate a cleaning regime whereby our buses are cleaned every day. In response to Covid-19, we have enhanced our cleaning regimes such that all touch-point surfaces, both on our buses and in our facilities, are thoroughly cleaned with a suitable disinfectant every day.

2. Will you be providing hand sanitisers on your buses?

We are carrying out additional cleaning of the main customer touch-points on our buses and reminding customers and drivers of the importance of hygiene good practice. We are not currently looking to roll out hand sanitisers on our services.

3. Are there any extra measures I should take?

The NHS and UK government has issued some general advice on additional measures you can take to help stop Coronavirus from spreading:

  • Face coverings must be worn onboard when inside a transport hub, which includes bus stations, interchanges or travel shops
  • Some people will be exempt from wearing a face covering - see a full list in the 'face coverings and social distancing' FAQ section
  • Anyone who refuses to wear a face covering and is not exempt could face a fine by the police of up to £200 and £60 in Wales (which doubles for each subsequent offence up to a maximum of £1920)
  • If possible, have hand sanitiser with you whilst travelling
  • Do not travel if you are unwell or are showing symptoms of Coronavirus
  • Sneeze and/or cough into a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands)
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after travelling
  • Use hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available
  • Avoid using cash if you can and pay by contactless  

4. What measures do you have in place if the virus continues to spread?

We have in place a dedicated team which is closely monitoring and managing the current situation. Our priority is to protect the safety of our customers and our own employees.

Covid-19 continues to challenge and disrupt life globally, with governments the world over implementing significant measures to reduce the spread of the virus and the harm it causes.

From the beginning, Arriva UK Bus has followed the overarching principle that our priority is to protect customers and colleagues by following UK government advice which is informed by expert organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England (PHE), and approved by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty.

We continue to follow and monitor this advice closely, and will continue to adapt our approach in line with this advice, making changes when, and only when, this advice evolves or changes.

Keeping pupils safe onboard

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Timetable and safety information specifically for school children

1. What are you doing to support children travelling to school safely?

We are running dedicated school services and are working in line with government guidance to ensure we are Covid-19 secure. 

On dedicated school services, we are asking pupils to maintain social distancing where possible. However, capacity on these buses will be increased allowing all available space to be used. The seats behind the driver and any facing each other will be taped off and should not be used. Pupils travelling with those from another school are asked to sit with those from their own school, ideally from their own year group. Social distancing still applies when boarding and alighting the bus. We also recommend that all pupils over the age of 11 wear a face covering and advise all children to carry hand sanitiser with them if possible. 

To find out more about school travel, click here.

2. What is the guidance on children wearing face coverings when travelling on your dedicated school services?

On our dedicated schools transport services, we recommend that all pupils over the age of 11 wear a face covering. Young children under the age of 11 are exempt from wearing a face covering.

3. What is the guidance on children wearing a face covering when travelling on your standard services?

All pupils over the age of 11 must wear a face covering. Exemptions apply to young children under the age of 11 and, following an Equalities Impact Assessment, to those with:

  • Breathing difficulties and other respiratory conditions
  • Conditions effecting their dexterity, meaning they are not able to put on a face covering
  • Mental health conditions such as anxiety or panic disorders
  • Other non-visible disabilities such as autism
  • Cognitive impairments, including dementia, who may not understand or remember the need to wear a face covering
  • Visual impairments, with a restricted field of vision, particularly if any residual vision is at the lower edge of the normal field of view
  • Impairments which would make it difficult to put on or take off a face covering safely, accurately, consistently or without pain
  • The exemptions also apply to those who rely on lip reading. This would include carers who are travelling with someone for whom a face covering will inhibit communication

4. What are you doing to reduce the amount of physical contact between pupils and drivers?

To help reduce the amount of physical contact between pupils and drivers, we are asking you to only use contactless payment or tickets via the new Arriva UK Bus app. Cash will only be accepted as a form of payment in exceptional circumstances and where the correct fare can be paid. Arriva drivers will not be able to provide change at this time. Additionally, the seats behind the driver and any facing each other will be taped off and should not be used.

5. Where can I find more information about school travel in my area?

As government guidance changes and local restrictions and advice come into effect, we know it is important for you to be able to see timetable information about school travel in your area. To find out more about what buses you can catch and all the essential information you need to know on social distancing, click here.

6. How will the 'Fire Break' lockdown in Wales affect school travel?

Following the announcement of a ‘Fire Break’ lockdown in Wales from the 23rd October and in line with government guidance, our services in Wales will continue to run at the current level. We will continue to monitor demand during the first week and, if necessary, make service adjustments.

More useful information

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Journey assistance cards

We have a range of Journey Assistance cards that are available for anyone that needs support when travelling.

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