Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chair Rex Graham and Regional Transport Committee Chair Martin Williams say we should all salute our Go Bus drivers for their commitment to the cause, helping the region deliver essential services.
There are many people at the front of our United Against Covid-19 campaign, including our health professionals, Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Police, those picking fruit on our orchards, our farmers and truck drivers. But we must not overlook the commitment of the Go Bus drivers, as the Regional Council operates under direction from Government to provide free public transport for people working in and accessing essential services.
Rex Graham says this work is critical.
"It is just as important to keeping us connected and functioning as a region as the work others involved with the provision of essential services are doing at this incredibly difficult time," says Mr Graham.
Until further notice the Regional Council continues to operate the Saturday timetable services, plus routes 10, 11, 16A, 16B and 17 on weekdays and the usual Saturday/Sunday timetable during weekends.
Martin Williams says the Regional Council is acutely aware of the need to ensure bus driver safety.
“Firstly, these bus services are available only to people working in essential services, such as hospital staff and healthcare workers, or people getting to supermarkets, health care facilities and pharmacies. Screens are in place to keep the necessary distance between passengers and the drivers," says Mr Williams.
Mr Williams says it is also very important to ensure that if we do have community transmission, we can do contact tracing.
“Anyone boarding a bus should keep a note on their phone or in their diary or notebook of the date, time and trip traveled on or complete a form online at www.gobay.co.nz” says Mr Williams.
“The key message is if you do not need to travel you should stay at home. The Regional Council will not tolerate any abuse of this service by non-essential free riders, and if we get evidence this is happening, that could put this vital service in jeopardy” says Mr Graham.
In the meantime, our committed bus drivers need to be acknowledged.
“Next time you board a bus (for essential travel only), or you see a bus drive past, show your appreciation to our bus drivers with a friendly wave or clapping your hands” says Mr Williams.
14 April 2020
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