Steps for travelling safely and the safety of others

26 May 2020

The Scottish Government today set out it’s guidance both for passengers and transport operators. The guidance contains advice when walking, cycling, or travelling on public transport or in private vehicles. Many transport users will welcome this advice.

As lockdown rules begin to change people are looking for reassurance about returning to travel. That’s a key issue that we have begun to examine. At the beginning of the month we started to speak to around 2000 people a week about their current travel behaviour and attitudes to travel in future during the coronavirus outbreak. The results from the latest benchmark survey were published on 21 May. The results shows support amongst residents in Scotland, which is also broadly in line with responses across Great Britain, for the use of masks/face coverings increasing over the time of our weekly survey.

This is both in terms of the increasing proportion agreeing that they will be wearing a mask/face covering when outside home (47 per cent now, up from 39 per cent in wave 2 published on 14 May), and in terms of those agreeing that they would not be happy using public transport unless wearing a mask/face covering is a requirement (63 per cent now, up from 54 per cent in wave 2). The expectation seems to be that strong encouragement, coupled with peer pressure, will be enough to achieve a high level of compliance.

Transport operators will now have to build on this guidance to develop processes and information for passengers so that they are clear about what to expect from their operator as well as what’s expected of them. Building on the guidance is fraught with difficulties. However, our previous insight indicates that passengers require accurate, timely, clear and consistent information to allow them to make informed decisions about what to do.

Ultimately it will require a partnership between government, operator and passenger – with government setting out the principles, operators setting out with crystal clear clarity what they will provide and passengers being therefore clear on how they can help make it work.

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