Transport User Voice – August 2020 – The easing of lockdown
28 July 2020
Changes across Wales, Scotland and London
Passengers must wear three-layer face coverings on public transport in Wales from Monday 27 July, following the First Minister’s announcement making these mandatory. Along with other measures, this aims to help people to travel more safely as they start to use public transport again.
Transport Focus has joined other key stakeholders across Wales in discussion sessions with the Welsh Government to contribute to developing guidance for passengers and service operators.
Our Covid-19 Travel Survey is providing weekly tracking of people’s experience and attitudes towards travelling. The results for week 11 (published on 17 July) show that, for people in Wales, more than half (57 per cent) agree that they will feel safer using public transport if passengers wear face coverings. Also nearly half (47 per cent) agree that as long as passengers are wearing face coverings when using public transport, reducing social distancing on buses and trains from two metres makes sense.
Social distancing is a key point for people travelling. Our Transport User Panel told us about their experiences of making journeys and views on social distancing on public transport in the future.
Above all, the message must be crystal clear, so people understand what to expect and what is expected of them, to feel happy and able to use public transport again. Transport Focus is ready to assist as the industry builds the advice and with monitoring how well the information is communicated to passengers.
In line with the Scottish Government’s move into Phase 3 of the lockdown exit strategy, transport operators are introducing timetable changes from early August. This will mean more buses and trains running to support a gradual economic and social recovery while also helping with social distancing.
Public transport continues to scale up to full services during this phase with a move to one metre physical distancing, subject to appropriate risk mitigations, releasing further capacity in carriages and vehicles.
We have also regularly attended Scotland’s Rail Recovery Taskforce meetings. The ability to illustrate what we know from our omnibus research about people’s choices and attitudes to transport has been very well received. It gives an insight into future travel patterns, information plans and demand.
As lockdown restrictions continued to ease with the opening of pubs and restaurant at the start of July, London TravelWatch called on Transport for London (TfL) to step up preparations for dealing with crowding at busy stations. This followed recent surveys showing that far more Londoners expected to make more journeys by public transport when pubs and restaurants re-opened than the rest of the country.
TfL changed the guidance it issued to passengers following London TravelWatch’s concerns. The watchdog also published the list of stations that TfL expected to be busier at weekends and evenings so passengers could try and avoid them. London TravelWatch suggested that the best bet for anyone wanting to go out and enjoy themselves was to stay local and walk/cycle to their destination where they can.
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