Restoring your confidence in public transport.
Manchester is currently under lockdown measures, which means we can only travel if necessary, or in some parts of the UK, travel is restricted to staying local. As you know, the different devolved nations have different travel restrictions; you can check the latest government guidelines for your devolved area here.
The government is currently considering lifting lockdown measures later this year, which means that pedestrians need to have confidence when travelling. In this article, I explore what government restrictions are currently in place to restore pedestrian confidence in public transport. We know that public transport is vital for so many. Getting more pedestrians to take buses and other forms of transport will reduce our carbon emissions and improve our air quality. However, because of the pandemic, the use of public transport has been scaled back as the government sought to balance the spread of the infection and keep the country running. The pandemic has made road safety so much more than the current issues faced by pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.
Due to the current travel restrictions, more individuals are currently cycling which is good for them and the environment. Cycling helps to reduce pressure on the public transport system and the road network.
A way to ensure others' safety is to maintain physical distancing when walking or cycling, for example, waiting at crossings and traffic or when approaching or passing other cyclists or pedestrians. Maintaining a physical distance is beneficial as it prevents the spread of the virus. furthermore planning your route before setting out allows you to make changes to enable physical distancing on roads, pavements and cycle routes.
Another way to stay safe when using bicycles (including bicycles hired from docking stations) is to wash or sanitise your hands before and after cycling.
What is it currently like to take public transport?
There have been adaptions to public transport, which help build confidence in keeping people safe. Such as contactless pay where possible, not allowing side to side or face-to-face seating; this is done by blocking off seats not to be used and taking into account the needs of disabled people, including sight and hearing-impaired persons.
To improve inter mobility during travel, the government has encouraged people to avoid the busiest times and routes. This can be done by planning your journey, check changes to local services before you travel, services may be reduced. There has also been a provision of additional buses in high demand areas to avoid potential crowding at stops or onboard public transport. There is also the option of walking and cycling, if possible. Transport intermobility was first tackled by the government in 2020 when they suggested people stagger their working hours to make rush hour quieter. Showing that they take the safety of users seriously.
Finally, another measure in place that restores the public confidence in public transport is regular touchpoint cleaning. An example of a touchpoint would be buttons to open doors or handrails. This is currently taking place across the transport network and beneficial as it aims to limit coronavirus transmission.
How to stay safe as pedestrians and keep others safe on public transport.
This can be done by following the advice or instructions given by operators when using public transport. There are currently 'Enhance Travel Safer' messages that remind the public of current guidelines and advice. For example, there is messaging around keeping 2m apart in transport hubs, on platforms and within carriages/buses where possible.
As you are probably aware, there are currently hygiene measures in places like wearing face coverings and social distancing when using public transport or using bus or rail stations or other transport hubs. You can also wash and sanitise your hands regularly.
The benefit of following general hygiene measures prevent the spread of covid and help to keep you safe. Take, for example, keeping your hands clean. Hands touch many surfaces and become contaminated with viruses; once contaminated, hands can transfer viruses to your eyes, nose or mouth; washing or sanitising your hands removes viruses and other germs. Social distancing prevents the spread of Covid. Another example of the benefits of the current hygiene measures is correctly wearing a face mask. This is because it reduces the spread of Covid droplets, helping to protect others.