SOMERSET residents were photographed crowding into a First Wessex bus on Saturday (September 19).

Although people were adhering to coronavirus guidelines by wearing masks, they were not two metres apart.

Buses of Somerset, a sister company to First Wessex, said they can encourage people to comply with the regulations but cannot enforce social distancing measures.

A spokesperson for Buses of Somerset said: “For the past few months, the travelling public has been advised by government, national health bodies and public transport operators how to stay safe while using public transport.

“The public should observe social distancing, practice good hand hygiene, not eat or drink and wear a mandatory face mask, and use contactless payment methods instead of cash.

“Being a responsible bus operator that cares about its passengers, everyone at Buses of Somerset has gone to great lengths to keep passengers as safe as possible while they’re onboard our vehicles.

“We rigorously clean our buses, including disinfecting surfaces and objects with a virucide, increase ventilation, protect driving staff and restrict passenger numbers on vehicles so passengers can observe social distancing.

“All our focus is on making sure bus travel on board our services is safe, but it is not our role to control what happens on the public highway.

“Since the start of the pandemic we’ve also been advising customers what they should do whilst travelling on public transport, reinforcing the information provided by the UK government, local authorities and public health bodies.

“Our messages have been made available across all customer channels, including on our buses and via media.

“We’ve also developed innovative technologies, so customers can plan ahead, avoid travelling during busy periods and check in real time where the bus is, when it’s due and how many seats are available and if the wheelchair space is occupied or not.

“Our drivers will advise customers wherever possible and encourage compliance with the regulations, but they cannot enforce social distancing measures.”