Transport User Voice – July 2020 – Do passengers feel safe?
30 June 2020
Changing rules, face coverings and social distancing
Monday 15 June saw many passengers heading back to public transport. The easing of restrictions meant non-essential shops could open and many were back at work again.
Ahead of this, we wanted to look at how people felt about returning to travel. While this involved only a small selection of people the results were nonetheless very telling. It was clear many associated the return with busy commuting times where passengers had to pack themselves onto buses or trains. Many did not trust that social distancing measures would hold up under these circumstances.
When asked how they felt about face coverings many people suggested they would wear one only when told they had to but that wearing one would make people would feel safer. So we welcomed the clear advice from 15 June that face coverings are now mandatory to wear on public transport.
Face coverings have been a strong focus throughout our travel during Covid-19 survey. Results from week six showed 67 per cent of people felt face coverings should be a requirement on public transport. In week seven we did an extra analysis on how views toward face coverings have changed each week since the survey began in light of the new legislation that had started that week.
The latest results for week eight revealed there is still caution around using public transport and around half say they will be wearing a face covering when they leave the house. Two thirds of people say they won’t use public transport until social distancing is in place, although the feasibility of actually keeping a two-metre distance is disputed.
Social distancing is also something we took a look at using our Transport User Panel. While many had felt safe when they had made journeys there was still concern over social distancing and support for limiting numbers on trains and buses.
We found the panel to be split on compulsory reservations on trains to make sure capacity is managed.
Panellists were also divided on whether the two-metre rule should be reduced to one-metre. The survey was completed before the Prime Minister’s announcement on a new one-metre plus rule but it is notable that many accepted keeping a two-metre distance just wouldn’t work.
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