Herts Heroes: Uno bus keeping the community connected
Our Uno buses provide an essential service to our students and staff as well as the wider Hertfordshire community, bringing many people to and from campus and to various destinations across the county. A number of people in our community depend on the Uno service to get to campus each day and for those who are not able to work from home, the buses continue to provide an invaluable service.
We spoke to the Uno team to find out how they’ve been adapting to the current situation.
Meet the team
Many of our drivers are still working as we’re running a number of key services throughout Hertfordshire that keep residents and workers connected for those essential journeys – we run buses to several hospitals for example. There’s also a team of people working hard behind the scenes to support them – engineers, cleaners, supervisors, customer service staff and managers.
|One of our drivers
COVID-19 impact and giving back
The advice from the government not to travel unless absolutely essential meant we saw a steady drop in the number of people travelling by bus. We’ve had to make adjustments to which routes are running to reflect the change in demand, making sure that key journeys are still covered.
We’ve introduced a whole host of extra measures in a short space of time, from enhanced cleaning of our buses and around the depot to extra Personal Protective Equipment for front-line staff. Like many organisations it’s been a bit of a challenge – some suppliers have had to close, and others are unable to deliver as quickly as they would do normally – but the team has really pulled together to put things in place.
|One of our cleaners helping out on site
Protecting our staff
Our drivers are issued with disposable gloves, anti-bacterial gel, face masks or shields and specially made cash vaults so they don’t need to handle money throughout the day. We’ve fitted temporary plastic screens on our buses, and seats near the very front have been cordoned off.
We’ve also put up reminders about social distancing, paying by contactless rather than cash and general ‘stay at home’ messages on all our social media channels and buses.
|Drivers wearing PPE
Working with the community
We recognised early on that NHS staff would be under a lot of pressure – putting themselves at risk to help keep everyone safe and look after those who are unwell – so we’re offering them free travel to and from work on any of our buses.
We also lifted the early-morning restrictions on concessionary bus pass use as supermarkets started to offer ‘priority shopping hours’ at the start of the day. This means that those with a bus pass don’t need to pay for their journey to the supermarket, so they can stock up on food and other supplies when its quietest.
Our customer service team have had lots of really lovely feedback from both passengers who are still having to make journeys and those who are able to stay at home.
We’ve also worked closely with the university and have reinstated several key journeys that customers have asked for – including a specific link to Watford General Hospital for student nurses.
|Nicole helping in the office
Everyone in our team deserves recognition! But especially our drivers – they love doing their job, but it’s quite a challenge at the moment. Give them a friendly wave if you see them when you’re out, it makes a world of difference.