Transport User Voice – November 2020 – Local lockdowns and moving between tiers
27 October 2020
What it means for transport users
Please note this information is accurate at the time of press on 27 October 2020.
London has been placed under Tier 2 of the Government’s localised travel restriction system following the rise in Covid-19 infection numbers. As part of this, Londoners are now being actively encouraged to reduce the numbers of trips they take using public transport and meeting in an indoor setting has been restricted to only those who you share a household with or those who are in your support or work bubble.
London TravelWatch has produced a guide showing what exactly Tier 2 means for those wanting to travel and what limitations will be in place.
The call to reduce the use of public transport will have a major impact on operators, particularly Transport for London (TfL) which is in negotiations with the Government to get some financial support to allow it to continue to run services. Although talks are still continuing it looks likely that conditions for Government funding will include measures such as a proposed extension of the Congestion Charge zone to an area inside the north and south circular and the removal of free travel for under 18s and over 60s.
London TravelWatch will continue to represent transport users as best it can, whatever the outcome.
After much public debate Greater Manchester moved into Tier 3 last week, joining Merseyside and Lancashire and followed by South Yorkshire, with the Covid-19 alert level classified as very high. This week, Warrington and Nottingham have also moved up to Tier 3.
What does this mean for transport users? People are asked not to travel into or out of the area except for work, education, to access youth services or because of caring responsibilities.
Tier 3 residents have also been asked to reduce the number of journeys they make within the region and to walk or cycle where possible. Transport for Greater Manchester’s website provides up to date travel information on this. And also Sheffield???
Of course, for those who are still making journeys by public transport we know that their key concerns are about other passengers following the rules, and how clean and safe the environment will feel.
In light of rising cases the Scottish Government took the decision to ramp up restrictions on a nationwide basis from 7 October. Other specific measures would also be introduced across the central belt reflecting the higher rates of infection. In addition, some existing rules and guidance were strengthened alongside wider measures to reduce the transmission.
The new measures were planned to last until Monday 26 October but have now been extended until Monday 2 November.
Public transport use should be minimised as much as possible, such as for education and work where it cannot be done from home. Working from home is expected of all those who can, with non-essential offices remaining closed.
The Scottish Government has also approved additional expenditure of up to £52.6 million to support bus operators to maintain services. The new funding, to cover expected loss of revenue between 9 November and 17 January, extends the support of up to £109.7 million provided to increase bus services since June.
Over recent weeks, various parts of Wales have been in localised lockdowns. Furthermore, on 19 October, the Welsh Government announced that there would be a two-week nationwide ‘firebreak’ effective from 6pm on 23 October, aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus. This will invariably impact upon the number of people travelling around the network in Wales.
The differing advice between devolved governments represents a challenge and it is imperative that those passengers who do need to travel are able to do so with confidence. We have expressed our concerns to Welsh Government and Transport for Wales around clarity of information, particularly for those passengers crossing the border into England. We have also been asking about what to expect beyond the firebreak – when the time is right there will be the need for clear communication encouraging people to use public transport again.
We have been working closely with Transport for Wales over recent weeks to ensure that the services in and around Hereford meet the needs of those who need to travel for work and education purposes. We have pressed for an enhanced service in the morning to ensure passengers can get where they need to be resulting in the reintroduction of services in the morning peak.
We will continue to monitor the situation as government advice across the nation changes.
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