First York has announced its Christmas timetable which includes the return of Boxing Day services.
It covers the period 23-27 December, when up to three households are allowed to mix for festive celebrations.
The operator is also beginning the roll-out of a live chat service on the First Bus App.
This will support customer queries and adds to other digital innovations – such a live feed on its app which shows how many seats are free on a bus, and the space checker tool online that enables journey planning by the hour for quieter days and times to travel.
Normal weekday timetables will operate up to Christmas Eve, when services will reduce from 5pm and finish at 8pm.
There are no services on Christmas Day, but a special timetable has been re-introduced for certain services on Boxing Day between 8am and 6pm.
Full details can be found on a dedicated page of its website.
The usual Sunday timetable will operate on Sunday, December 27.
From Monday 28 to Thursday 31 December there is a Saturday timetable in place with extra morning journeys added, but services will end between 5pm and 8pm on New Year’s Eve.
No buses will operate on New Year’s Day and from the first weekend of 2021 normal timetables will resume.
Managing director Marc Bichtemann said: “We want to support a sense of togetherness and normal life at Christmas, so bringing back Boxing Day services is part of achieving that feeling and helping to get customers where they want to be over the holiday period.”
He said the company was seeing a gradual increase in passenger numbers week-on-week since the ending of lockdown and expected this to continue. “We have a full network operating and customers can travel safely with us as they head out for Christmas shopping and other festive activities,” he added.
First York is now displaying a message ‘2021 will be better’ as well as Christmas greetings on its destination screens to help lift people’s spirits throughout December.
“It is a simple gesture but we’ve had a really positive reaction, which I think comes from all of us looking to the future and now seeing better times ahead. This has been good for the team,” said Marc.
A family of up to two adults and three children can also travel all day with First York and other bus operators for £5.50 throughout December as the price of an All York Family Day ticket has been halved.
“This is a great way to help families be together and experience the city and its festive atmosphere,” added Marc Bichtemann.