Stagecoach has today updated its guidance to customers on fare payment methods on its bus services in Kent and East Sussex.
In addition to asking customers to use contactless, mobile or pre-payment methods, from 14 May the bus operator won’t be issuing change to passengers who pay by cash.
Under the new temporary arrangement, any additional cash received as a result of not giving change will be donated to Demelza Hospice Care for Children, a local charity that provides specialist care and emotional support for children with terminal conditions and their loved ones throughout Kent, South East London and East Sussex.
The decision comes after many transport operators in different parts of the country have restricted cash or adopted ‘exact fare’ systems to help combat the spread of Coronavirus.
Joel Mitchell, Stagecoach South East managing director said: “We really want to thank our customers for their help in keeping our drivers and their fellow passengers safe at this time.
"Although the majority of our customers are now using contactless and other digital forms of payment, many key workers still rely on cash to pay for their journey.
“Some transport operators are restricting cash, but we think this could leave some customers in our communities unable to travel, particularly those who are not able to have a contactless payment card. That’s why we’ve taken this decision – to continue to accept cash but to reduce the transfer of coins and bank notes by not issuing change.
"Along with the other steps we are taking in line with government and public health guidance, this additional measure will mean everyone who needs to travel can do so and stay safe.
"We’re very proud of our partnership with Demelza and we’re conscious that they, along with many other charities, are struggling to maintain funding at this time. It’s right that we should donate any excess cash raised in this way and we’re pleased to be able to help Demelza carry on with the essential work they do.”
Lila Dowie from Demelza said “We are so grateful to Stagecoach for their ongoing support and as we have come to know and expect from them, their commitment to their customers and communities is always at the front of their mind. This is such a great idea – small change that will make a big difference!
“These donations will keep customers safe during this crisis but also help Demelza’s nursing and care teams keep our children and families safe and enable us to keep delivering the exceptional care, family activities and bereavement, emotional and mental health support they need during this time and for the year we have to come.”
The bus operator is urging people who need to travel to check their website before using the bus. A central web page has been created at www.stagecoachbus.com/SEcovid19 with all the latest information. Customers can also stay up to date on Twitter @StagecoachSE.