Greater Anglia hopes passengers return as Covid restrictions ease

One of Greater Anglia's new Stadler Intercity trains

Returning passengers could have their first ride on one of Greater Anglia's new trains. - Credit: Paul Geater

Greater Anglia is hoping that the relaxation of Covid restrictions will lead to a big return of rail passengers who have deserted the trains since the first lockdown last year.

Currently the company is carrying about 50% of its pre-pandemic numbers, but it is hoping that this will rise as restrictions are eased and passengers become more confident about using public transport.

From Monday the Government is lifting most remaining lockdown restrictions including social distancing and limits on the number of people who can gather indoors or outdoors, as well as encouraging people to return to the office.

Although many restrictions have been lifted, the Government is keeping in place “key protections” – including wearing a face covering in crowded places, such as busy trains.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming people back to our railway.

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“Although the Government has lifted many measures, they are still recommending and expecting people to wear face coverings in crowded places, so we’re asking our customers to continue to wear face coverings on busy trains and stations.

“We’ve been really grateful to the high numbers of customers who have helped keep us all safe by wearing a face covering throughout their journey in the last year.

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“Although we’re removing some social distancing markings, we’re still asking people to use the whole length of trains and platform and we’ve improved our less busy trains tool on our website, which shows at a glance which rush hour services to London Liverpool Street have fewer passengers on board.

“We’re also keeping hand sanitiser available at staffed stations as government advice remains to regularly wash and sanitise your hands.

“Passengers coming back for the first time since the first lockdown, will notice many changes – such as more new longer trains in passenger service, including some routes which are exclusively served by new trains, and extra cleaners wiping down high touch areas on trains at the end of each journey to keep them clean and sanitised.”

Greater Anglia’s trains either have air conditioning which sucks in fresh air every six to nine minutes, or opening windows. All train doors open at stations to allow further ventilation.

The train company is currently running about 86% of the normal timetable, so customers should check before they travel to make sure the service they want to catch is running.

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