Anyone can use trains and buses as Boris Johnson eases restrictions on travel
- Credit: Archant
And operators have been quick to emphasise the work they have been doing to make their vehicles clean and as safe as possible for an increasing number of passengers – who will have to continue to wear face coverings while on board for the foreseeable future.
At the start of the week Greater Anglia, along with other rail companies, dropped the advice on its website that trains were only for essential journeys and that people should only use the train if there was no other way of travelling.
MORE: Rail companies prepare for new eraUntil Friday that remained the official government line, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson said public transport was now available to everyone – but added that passengers should be aware of safety issues and understand that there might be other ways of making their journey.
A Greater Anglia spokesman said: “We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement. We’re fully focused on providing a convenient and safe service for customers, as more people start to take the train again.
“We are running a full service on all our local routes and we have re-introduced more Norwich to London intercity services. With new, longer trains in place, there’s also extra room for people to keep socially distanced. However, customers are still encouraged to travel at quieter times, with details of the busiest trains provided on our website.
“Passengers are encouraged to stay safe while travelling this summer and should wear a mask, wash their hands or use hand sanitiser. It is mandatory for customers to wear a face covering when using public transport, to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Children under the age of 11 and people with a disability or medical condition which means they cannot wear a face covering are exempt from wearing them.
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“Free hand sanitiser is available at 20 of our busiest stations and we’re replenishing soap in our stations and trains more often. We’re cleaning high-touch areas around our trains and stations more frequently and using powerful anti-viral cleaning products. We’ve also invested in fogging guns to spray and sanitise large areas.
“We’ve also introduced a wide range of measures to make it easier for customers to observe social distancing at stations – including floor markings, one-way systems, new signs and queuing systems.
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“Along with the rest of the rail industry, we are promoting our Safer Travel Pledge, which explains some of the key things we are all doing to help customers to travel safely – including providing more services, undertaking extra cleaning, helping with hygiene (by replenishing soap, at stations and on trains, more frequently and providing hand gel dispensers at some of our busiest stations) and providing more information on travel arrangements.
“It also highlights the four things customers can do to help themselves and others – checking before they travel, wearing a face covering, travelling at quieter times and extra hand washing. Customers are encouraged to buy tickets in advance where possible and to pay using contactless methods when buying tickets at stations.”
The same advice applies to bus passengers – and Ipswich Buses has been busy making its vehicles safe. It has now been granted “Good to Go” accreditation which is awarded by Visit Britain to operators meeting government health and safety standards, especially in regard to the pandemic.
Stephen Bryce, General Manager at Ipswich Buses, said: “It’s great that we can be accredited with the ‘We’re Good to Go’ tourism industry standard mark to give confidence to our customers, reassuring them that we’re adhering to the latest government guidelines, and allows us to be part of the unlocking of the country.
“We implemented various measures early on, including enhanced cleaning regimes, and have continued to adapt and improve safety aspects as further advice has been issued from government.
“Our buses are clean and safe, so we’re here for when you need us.”