A BUS firm which serves Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Teesside has said it will currently remain at 'full service levels' during the third coronavirus lockdown.

Go North East said its services will continue to operate as planned, although passenger use will be reviewed on a "daily and weekly" basis. 

Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director of the firm, said it expected to see its school bus services, and 'duplicate' buses, impacted by the fall in demand as a result of national restrictions.

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He said: "We are continuing to operate full service levels at the moment, in line with that operated throughout our time in both Tier 3 and Tier 4, as many people rely on us to get to employment that cannot be undertaken from home, and to access essential services such as healthcare and supermarkets.

"School buses, and the large number of extra buses that we had been deploying to provide extra capacity to enable social distancing onboard, are being revised in line with demand but this does not affect the routes or times of our main local bus services.

"Customers can be assured that our services are still operating as planned but, now more than ever, it is important that they wear a face covering, frequently wash their hands (we have hand sanitisers onboard our buses) and don't travel if they feel unwell."

Speaking about the operational implications, Mr Gilbert said the temporary loss of some school services would not lead to staff members being placed on furlough leave, instead "re-deployed".

He said: "All colleagues who fall into the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable category were already furloughed following the earlier restrictions and guidance that came into force.

"Drivers released from school bus and duplicate journeys are currently re-deployed elsewhere in our company."