As the lockdown eases, and more people travel to work, train companies respond by increasing their schedules, which were drastically cut back during the worst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.
As part of planning to run more trains, operators have published a list of eight ways in which they are ensuring people can travel safely… and a further four ways that passengers can help.
However, people are still urged to use public transport only if necessary, to ensure there is enough space for those who need to use it.
The Safer Travel Pledge, to be displayed in train stations around the country, will help people who work in pubs, cafes, hairdressers and the wider hospitality industry to have confidence in their journey as they return to work for the first time in over three months.
Under the new Safer Travel Pledge, extra services are being introduced by the rail industry where possible to meet increased demand and timetables will be designed to prioritise more trains at peak times and busier stations to prevent overcrowding.
Here are the eight ways in which rail companies are helping combat the spread of COVID-19, and the four ways that they are suggesting passengers can help.
- More trains and extra carriages in timetables – to make extra room and help with social distancing;
- New social distancing signs – so people know where to go, stay 2 metres apart where possible and avoid pinch points;
- Powerful fog cleaning on trains – with trains and stations cleaned more frequently through the day;
- Soap restocked more often in stations and on trains – so it’s easier to keep your hands virus-free;
- Vending machines for face coverings and hand sanitiser – at over 150 stations making it easier for passengers to buy what they need;
- Hand sanitiser points in over 300 stations – helping protect people from the virus;
- New service on Messenger app alerting people to busy trains – look up National Rail on Messenger to get started;
- Up to 2,500 extra staff available at key locations – to help passengers on their way.
- Travel off-peak – keep distance wherever possible and avoid the busiest times;
- Wash your hands – carry hand sanitiser and wash hands before and after your journey;
- Bring a face covering – wear it throughout your journey, but remember that hidden disabilities and medical conditions mean not everyone can;
- Check before you travel – visit nationalrail.co.uk before setting off and sign up for alerts on the Messenger app.
Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents both the train operators and Network Rail, said:
“With pubs, restaurants and other businesses reopening next week, more people will be taking the train.
“While we are still asking people only to take the train if necessary, as the lockdown is eased further, we are stepping up timetables and taking other steps so people can travel with confidence.
“In return, we want people to help us by avoiding the busiest times, wearing a face covering and checking the latest train information online before setting off.”