COACH operator Bibby’s of Ingleton took members of its staff on a morale boosting trip to the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, and to give the visitor attraction a chance to give its social distancing requirements a ‘dry-run’.

Bibby’s director, Chris Bibby, said the idea was to give both the coach company and the area’s visitor attractions an opportunity to practice social distancing measures ahead of last weekend’s re-opening following the gradual relaxing of coronavirus restrictions.

“This is the first time opening in the year for many attractions and they need to put Covid-19 precautions in place with social distancing. We enjoyed a return journey to Bolton Abbey and the day was a big success, we hope the railway now has confidence to open as planned. We can recommend a visit and we wish them well,” said Mr Bibby.

Mr Bibby said the coach industry was on a ‘cliff edge’ after being told it was to receive no government support.

He said coach operators were facing an ‘18 month winter’ which had led to last week’s protest in London as part of the ‘honk for hope’ campaign.

“We are left to fend for ourselves with no help, we have to rely on our loyal customers even though we can only operate at half our capacity due to social distancing.

“We are operating these trial day trips to enable us to be extra ready with our own systems in place but to keep up the morale of staff who we haven’t seen for months. The coach industry is at a cliff edge.”

The Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway is now running services on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, customers will be more spread out than usual for social distancing. Tickets must be booked in advance through its website.