CHESHIRE West and Chester Council has confirmed that it will partially restart its park and ride services in Chester from Saturday, July 18.

The service temporarily stopped operating on March 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Initially the park and ride services will operate cross-city between Wrexham Road and Boughton Heath only.

The stop on Foregate Street on this route will not be in use due to social distancing measures introduced in the city centre.

Strict safety measures will be in place on buses to protect both the travelling public and drivers.

Covid-secure measures on board each bus include perspex screens to separate the driver and passengers, contactless payments only, reduced operating capacity – managed at the sites during busy times – and compulsory wearing of a face covering or mask by passengers.

Deputy leader Karen Shore said: "Our Park & Ride service is being reinstated following the council’s careful and cautious approach to the reopening of services during the ongoing pandemic.

"Coronavirus has not gone away and initially the service will be only partially reinstated. Please plan ahead to allow extra time for your journey, use the Stagecoach app to book your ticket in advance or be ready to make a contactless payment, and try to travel outside of peak times if possible.

"Please play your part and follow current social distancing and hand hygiene advice if you wish to use the service.

"To support the council’s Walk-Ride-Thrive initiative, we will be improving the sites to include enhanced cycle storage facilities for anyone wishing to continue their journey into the city by bike."

A Stagecoach spokesperson said: "Our first priority is the health and well-being of our employees and customers. We’re encouraging people to use contactless, as the majority of our customers are now using contactless and other digital forms of payment.

"If you need to pay by cash to replace a lost ticket, we will only be accepting exact change. As we are unable to give you change at this time we will be donating any leftover change, where customers have paid more than the exact fare, to the NHS Covid-19 appeal – a charity supporting NHS staff and volunteers.

"If you would like to buy a ticket in advance simply download the Stagecoach Bus app.

"We have in place extensive enhanced measures to keep our buses clean and our passengers and staff safe. This includes rigorous daily and in-service cleansing with focus on key touch points.

"Our buses have protective screens to provide a physical barrier between the driver and passenger. Face coverings are mandatory and will give passengers the confidence to travel.

"By making these changes to how they use public transport, passengers will be helping our own key worker drivers and supporting the national effort to keep us all safe."

Timetables and further information on the partial park and ride service is on the council’s website.

To help improve journey times, enforcement action against unauthorised vehicles using the bus lanes will begin again on Monday, August 3.

Prior to this date only warning letters will be issued but actual Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) will arrive through the letterboxes of offenders after that date.