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Updated COVID-19 Measures for Transport
With the Department for Transport expecting passenger services to step up to a ‘Saturday service’ level from May 18, train operators have warned that social distancing measures mean that capacity across the network will continue to be very limited.
Between 65% and 80% of normal weekday services are expected to run, with the operators looking to maximise the number of vehicles provided on a significant proportion of trains.
However, they have pointed to a range of challenges, notably around staff availability. Front-line employees may be affected by the coronavirus either directly or through a family member. Self-isolation may reduce staff below numbers required to maintain a full service, and operators ‘cannot guarantee there will be no cancellations’.
The sector has committed to ‘protect the most important routes and services so that vital freight and commuter trains keep moving’.
DfT continues to advise that passengers should only travel if absolutely necessary. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps urged people to avoid public transport if possible, suggesting that ‘this is a life and death situation’. Pointing out that social distancing rules would restrict public transport to around 10% of normal capacity, he said ‘the absolute key here is for anybody who can, to make alternative arrangements for travel’.
Whilst not a legal requirement, the government is advising passengers to wear face coverings while using public transport to help reduce the risk of inadvertent transmission of the virus.
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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