Birmingham coach operator Bouden Travel has questioned Boris Johnson’s “contradictory” advice that people should avoid public transport while at the same time returning to work, saying that coaches offer an entirely safe travelling environment during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Director Adel Bouden says that a thoroughly cleaned and disinfected coach, when combined with other precautionary measures, is an entirely safe means of transporting groups. Mr Bouden adds that contrary to what Mr Johnson says, avoiding public transport is only necessary when the operator has failed to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of passengers and staff.

“The lack of clarity offered by the government has left the country confused,” he says. “Although I cannot speak for other operators, we have come up with our own measures to ensure that when people travel with us, they can be confident that they are protected.”

Adds Sales and Operations Manager Sophie Baugh: “It became clear at the beginning that the support and guidance available would be limited. We discussed at length the various scenarios and how we could minimise the risk of transmission for both our workforce and our passengers.

“It was clear that we would need to take responsibility and impose new procedures and regulations so that our message to customers is clear – even when the government’s advice is not.”

Bouden Travel has enhanced its existing cleaning operation. Complementing an existing full valet between each job, antibacterial chemical fogging equipment has been introduced that fumigates coaches when they return to base, mitigating the spread of coronavirus COVID-19.

Other measures in place to mitigate against virus transmission include social distancing on Bouden’s coaches. That entails blocking the first two rows of seats to protect the driver.  Drivers have been supplied with PPE, and passengers are also given face masks.

Additionally, non-contact thermometers are used to check the temperature of passengers who have arrived from overseas, while antibacterial hand sanitiser units have been fitted to coaches that all passengers are required to use. Posters are displayed on vehicles and drivers ensure that passengers are aware of the measures that are in place.

Adds Ms Baugh: “While gearing up for a return to work, responsible employers need to ensure that their staff are kept as safe as possible. Using a trustworthy travel solution for movements is paramount. That is where we come in.”