SOCIAL DISTANCING KEY TO WA REGIONAL COACH TRAVEL

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Integrity Coach Lines


BOOKING FLEXIBILITY and newly introduced social distancing measures on its coaches is allowing a long-standing West Australian bus operator to keep running as an essential service for regional commuters, it confirms.

SOCIAL DISTANCING KEY TO WA REGIONAL COACH TRAVEL
Sims has incorporated social distancing on the coaches, thus limiting the number or passengers that can travel, Integrity Coach Lines confirms.

Integrity Coach Lines – a fully West Australian owned company – says it, "…didn’t abandon the regions ‘when the going got tough’, and thus sought ways to assist regional West Aussies and those in need of essential travel under state and federal guidelines during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.  

The company still currently supplies coach services for essential travel between Perth and Broome and everywhere between, it states.   

As it explains, when airlines cancelled flights and abandoned some communities altogether, Integrity kept up support for the regions with six services per week - three heading north and three heading south - so the communities were still supported.

Integrity Coach Lines owner Ross Sims said: "The pandemic is serious and we understand the importance of providing an ‘essential travel’-only service to the regions."

"We supply a transport option for people to be able to get home, to work, doctor’s appointments and some other trips based on compassionate grounds, such as funerals and escaping domestic violence," he explained.

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PASSENGER LIMITS

Sims has been running services in Western Australia for 25 years and says he isn’t about to let the communities down now. Instead he has incorporated social distancing on the coaches, thus limiting the number or passengers that can travel, Integrity confirms.

This is difficult for a small business to sustain, he says; however, he is adamant that regions should continue to have a reliable travel service. 

Additionally, while the cleaning standards were always high, according to Integrity, Sims has increased this further to include additional cleaning of key touch points during each service. 

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PROPER AUTHORITY

To meet current WA state government requirements, Sims’s team of drivers will check a passenger’s ‘documentation’ prior to boarding, so that they, "…shouldn’t have a problem at the regional checkpoints," the company states.

This situation is because Covid-19 travel restrictions in Western Australia led to the state police force issuing requirements for people to have a G2G Pass to travel, encouraging prospective commuters to download an app to attain their approved passes prior to the travel date.

"If a prospective customer’s documentation isn’t up to scratch then they will defer your booking for seven days to allow you to get your documentation in order. It’s all part of providing a good service," Sims says.

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WHY THE G2G?

The G2G app is a government initiative designed in WA, Integrity explains. The company says it tries to educate passengers about the G2G with information and options available to them, so that they can move forward by making informed decisions with the right documentation required at time of boarding and regional border checks along the way.

Once eligibility has been established, depending on the reason for travel, based on the company’s experience with passengers supporting documents can include but are not limited to:

- Proof of residential address;

- Letter from employer;

- Letter from governmental department such as Deptartment of Communities;

- Confirmation for a doctor’s visit or hospital appointment;

- Release letter from a hospital or Department of Justice

Visitation documents;

- Not for profit organisations, such as women’s refuges and DV community groups.

Documents are checked by the drivers prior to boarding and also need to be made available at all check points when requested, Integrity confirms.

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THE FUTURE

Aside from the need to travel for an essential reason now between the regions, the company advises people start planning a trip for after the pandemic and consider supporting the WA-owned and based company, one that it says, "…supported your region during difficult times."

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