Travelling by bus

1 year ago Thu 2nd Jul 2020

Maintaining safe and responsible travel - updated 05 January 2021

We are committed to delivering a safe and responsible bus service which meets your travel requirements.  

In relation to cross border and general bus travel the government messaging remains; stay at home and only travel for essential purposes. Essential travel includes travelling to work, essential shopping and appointments.

Our advice and travel guidance is based on the Scottish Government’s Transport Transition Plan - advice on travelling safely and the UK travel guidelines.

Travelling by bus during Covid-19

Be responsible and adhere to the government's advice when travelling by bus during this difficult time. For all up-to-date travel advice please visit our Covid-19 Travel Advice page.

Planning your journey 

Our journey planner provides a quick and easy way to find the best journey to suit your travel requirements.

As we rapidly adapt to these unprecedented times, our street and paper timetables may be out of date. We strongly encourage you to use our website journey planner or app for up to date information and journey planning. 

Following the Scottish Government’s advice, we would recommend you travel off peak if possible.

Facial covering 

It is mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport in England and in Scotland. We ask you to respect these rules and use face covering on our buses. This could be a scarf, mask or home-made face covering. This excludes young children (under five in Scotland, under 11 in England). Drivers do not need to wear a face covering if they are behind a plastic screen, it is their choice. Some customers are unable to wear masks for a range of reasons, we would also ask you to not judge those who do not wear masks. Please read our face covering FAQs for further details.

If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, the Thistle Assistance card and App is an easy, free and safe way to let us know when you board the bus. Visit Thistle Assistance to get your card or download the app.

Further information for face coverings can be found on the Scottish Government’s website.

Encouraging contactless

In preparation for your journey would ask you to consider paying with contactless cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay or our app tickets rather than cash. Cash is still accepted however we would ask for each of you to try to avoid on bus cash payments. 

Travelling to bus stops 

It is recommended by the Scottish Government when travelling to a bus stop and whilst standing at a bus stop you maintain a two-metre distance from other people. This excludes members of the same household.

Bus arriving 

If you feel the bus is busy it is recommended you wait for the next bus. 

Capacity tracker

We have launched a bus capacity tracker here on and the Borders Buses app. You can check if your bus is quiet, moderate or busy in advance. You can also see if your chosen bus has wifi, USB chargers and bike racks.

How to use our capacity tracker:

Web: Simply select your bus route under ‘Timetables and Maps’ and click the moving icon on our interactive map for capacity information.

App: Click the moving icon of your bus number on the Explore page for capacity information.

Physical distancing on bus 

Physical distancing on public transport has been reduced from two metres to one metre. As bus capacities increase, we would like to thank you for continuing to practice physical distancing whilst travelling on our buses. We recognise it can be difficult, especially when dealing with payment, entering and exiting the bus however we thank you in advance for continuing to take care of yourself, be mindful of others and keep your distance at all times. We also ask all customers who can wear a face covering to do so.

We have introduced clear signage on bus to guide you in the best way to travel. This includes distancing lines in the aisles, blocked seats and encouraging forward facing travel.

Physical distancing is not mandatory for those travelling on dedicated school buses or those travelling in school travel zone sections of buses.

Bus seating arrangement 

We have blocked off seats behind the driver’s cab area and some other hot spot area and encourage customers to maintain, where possible a two-metre distance. We recommend forward sitting seats for individual travel, with same household groups being the only customers able to use tabled seating and where available face to face seating. If required we shall block other seating to maintain physical distancing.

Customer hand sanitiser 

We have installed hand sanitisers on all our buses for your use. Please use when boarding and departing.

Windows open 

Wrap up warm. We will be keeping all windows in the main area of the bus open to improve ventilation. In our commitment to safe and responsible travel our driver is unable to ensure windows are open at each stop so please do not close windows. We are all in this together so please feel free to open windows if they are closed. Please use the free hand sanitiser provided on bus if touching surfaces

Think of others 

Please be aware of the impact of restrictions on the needs of fellow passengers who may have impairments, disabilities or mobility issues.


In addition to these measures you are advised by the Scottish Government to be aware of the surfaces you touch and be careful not to touch your face. Remember to cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.

Food and drink on bus 

At this time, it is recommended you do not eat or drink unless necessary on a long journey. Remember to take your belongings and not leave any items or rubbish on tables, seats or other public areas.

On bus cleanliness 

Our vehicles are deep cleaned every night by our amazing cleaning team. During the day our drivers have their own bus for the duration of their shift. Key hot spot areas such as hand poles, seat back and buzzers are disinfected throughout the day.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) 

All our teams are provided with PPE. Our drivers are also expected to wear face coverings if there is not dividing plastic screen on bus. All our buses are fitted with screens so the option of face coverings will be decided by the driver.

School travel

Anyone over the age of five (excluding those exempt) must wear a face covering whilst travelling on bus.

Excluding the non requirement of physical distance measures on dedicated school transport and school travel zones. All public transport measures detailed below must be adhered too.

Covid-19 testing apps

The free Protect Scotland App from NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect and England's NHS Covid-19 apps are available from Apple and Google. The following short clips demonstrates how to download and provides details about the apps.

Protect Scotland App

NHS Covid-19 App

More information

We thank you in advance to adhering to the new measures we have in place to ensure a safe travel journey. If you have any queries please do not hesitate email [email protected]

Alternatively please refer to the Scottish Government’s advice on travelling safely.