Sandwell bus company outlines plans to tackle COVID-19 crisis

Sandwell bus and coach operator Rotala has outlined its plans to keep the company running through the COVID-19 crisis.

In a statement on its website Rotala announced that in line with advice provided by public health bodies and local authorities about people undertaking only essential travel due to the Coronavirus pandemic, some of its operating companies have reduced the frequency of bus services until further notice.

Tividale-based Rotala Plc is an AIM listed company operating commercial and subsidised bus routes for businesses, local authorities, the public and private individuals. It operates bus routes across the region and will continue to operate services where possible to enable key workers to get to and from work.

The company said that the health and safety of its staff and passengers is of the upmost importance and it asks passengers to respect government and NHS information, follow hygiene guidelines and practice safe distancing wherever possible. It is reviewing the situation daily and will revise its service levels should the need arise.

For now, most of its services have been re-scheduled to a Sunday-level timetable and driver rosters have been reduced accordingly. The company also confirmed that it will furlough staff who are not rostered to work at any one time.

Other measures taken to protect the company during this difficult time include the suspension of discretionary capital expenditure, while vehicle operating leases have been terminated where possible.

HSBC has increased the overdraft facility of the company from £3.5m to £6.6m.

Company directors believe that as a result of these measures it will be able to sustain its operations for the foreseeable future.

Rotala will continue to monitor the situation and follow guidance from public health bodies and local authorities. It will provide updates to customers via its websites and social media pages.

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