With bus and Capital Connection patronage expected to increase this week as more people return to work, Horizons Regional Council says appropriate measures are in place to ensure Covid-19 compliance is maintained in Alert Level 3.

Horizons transport manager Rhona Hewitt said the use of passenger transport is permitted for activities such as accessing goods and essential services, commuting to school or work, travelling to local low-risk recreation areas.

"While fewer people should be travelling on public transport, clear instructions around the number of passengers allowed on the bus, physical distancing and seating arrangements are being put up inside the buses to help guide customers on what to do," said Hewitt.

"The possibility of capacity constraints mean that you should allow plenty of time to reach your destination. Please try and avoid peak times unless you are a worker or are travelling to an educational facility.

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"If the bus or train has reached its allowed capacity, it will not be able to pick up additional passengers. We will do our best to limit the impact of this, however we ask that caregivers wait with children at bus stops.

"All passengers are also responsible for following the 2m physical distancing rules at bus stops and stations. We really appreciate everyone's patience and kindness as we work within the limitations in place to keep everyone safe."

Hewitt urges passengers to fill out contract tracing forms when using the bus.
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"It is really important that each time a passenger uses the bus, their trip details and contact information are recorded. This is so we can provide this information to the Ministry of Health if it is required."

Passengers are asked to call Horizons on 0508 800 800, or fill in the contact tracing form at https://horizons-covid-register.azurewebsites.net/contact

"These bus service measures will remain in place while New Zealand is at Covid-19 Alert Levels 3, or up until 30 June 2020. This may be reviewed earlier if the Covid-19 Alert is reduced to Levels 1 or 2," said Hewitt.

"While most bus services return to normal, there are some schedule changes. It is recommend that people regularly check out Horizons' bus notices webpage for the most up-to-date timetable information.

Mrs Hewitt says that on Wednesday 29 April, the Capital Connection commuter train will also resume normal services.

"Carriages will be set up to be Covid-19 compliant, meaning a smaller number of passengers than usual can be carried to respect physical distancing.

"The Café on all services will not be open. This will be reviewed when the alert level reduces to Level 2.

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"The train is currently being stabled in Wellington. On Tuesday evening you will see it travelling back to Palmerston North in readiness for Wednesday morning."