North bus operator accepts first booking since lockdown as it invests in anti-viral mist machine
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THE Highlands’ largest coach operator says its fleet is “clean, safe and ready to go” thanks to an intensive deep clean and health and safety regime.
D&E Coaches managing director Donald Mathieson said the Inverness-based firm had also provisionally accepted its first bookings since lockdown stopped the wheels rolling.
This week they also started a new contract carrying temporary workers between Inverness and Aberlour for Walkers Shortbread, who are beginning production for the Christmas rush.
Because of current social distancing rules, they require two coaches to convey a total of 25 workers.
“It’s been an extremely difficult time, so it’s encouraging that the first bookings have come in for September and all being well, we look forward to getting back on the road,” Mr Mathieson said.
“But we’ve done our homework on countering Covid-19 and we’re ready for the ‘new normal’ with a far-reaching package of new measures to ensure the safety of passengers and staff alike.
”We’re a key part of the Highland tourism and leisure industry and we’re keen to help its recovery.”
His daughter Gayle McEwan, D&E transport director, said: “We have invested in a machine which covers each coach in an anti-viral mist, reaching in to every nook and cranny. The fleet will now be sprayed with anti-viral mist daily.
“In addition, we now introduce a deep clean after every journey, such as when we take staff and visitors between Inverness and Meallmore nursing home.
“We’ve also invested in handheld infra-red units which take temperatures of passengers and drivers to ensure we don’t travel with anyone who has the virus.”
She added: “All drivers returning from furlough are Covid-tested and issued with packs for every journey, containing plastic gloves and masks, sanitiser, wipes and sprays.
“Packs will also be located on board coaches for passenger use, to reassure them that it’s a safe and healthy place to be.”
Ms McEwan has gained online anti-virus qualifications, including VisitScotland’s Covid Prevention: Good To Go certificate.
She said: “A switch to one-metre social distancing will be a big help, but we’ve done our research and spent on initiatives to ensure we have the best cleaning and safety methods in place to instil customer confidence. This system will be normal from now on as D&E adjusts to again doing what it does best – taking people where they want to be.”