A NORTH-EAST bus company has said it will be reducing the number of services across the region following on from the government's announcement to avoid non-essential travel.

Arriva North East, which runs services in Darlington, County Durham, Teesside and Tyne and Wear, has said bus services from Monday (March 23) will be reduced.

It said 'key routes' would still be served to ensure that its customers continue to "access critical services" although full details are yet to be confirmed.

It comes as transport operators across the country are set to severely restrict the number of services they operate following a sharp fall in customer numbers due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

An Arriva spokesperson said: "In light of the government's latest advice and recommendations, as well as planned school closures, we can confirm as of Monday 23rd March, we will have to reduce the frequency of some services in the local area.

"However, we will still be operating our key routes to ensure customers can continue to access critical services, and we are continuing to tailor our service changes in line with ongoing advice from the Government and public health bodies."

Arriva said customers would be made aware of service changes via its website and through social media.

Arriva North East's statement on coronavirus

A spokesperson said: “We have dedicated teams in place across all aspects of Arriva UK Bus who are monitoring this fast-evolving situation very closely.

“The health and wellbeing of our customers and employees remains our primary concern. We have extensive cleaning regimes in place that maintain high levels of hygiene, which are carefully and regularly monitored and reviewed.

"In addition to regular cleaning procedures, Arriva is rolling out enhanced cleaning on our buses and our premises ensuring all touchpoints are regularly deep cleaned.

"We have also taken steps to ensure that our frontline employees can access hand sanitiser gel and that additional cleaning materials are available at our depots and other locations."