Commuters urged to face away from other passengers and wear a mask

Face away from other passengers, wear a mask, avoid rush hour, and WASH YOUR HANDS on arrival: Government issues advice for train, bus and Tube commuters as back-to-work plans are ramped up

  • Government has issued guidance for people who can’t avoid public transport
  • Passengers should face away from each other if possible and wear masks
  • Ministers urging people to return to jobs in most sectors even if not from home 

The latest tranche of documents released this morning cover transport

Commuters have been urged to wear a mask and face away from each other as the government mounts a push to get more rail and bus services up and running.

People who must use public transport should avoid rush hour and make sure they wash their hands on arrival, according to new guidance. 

Paying for tickets using contactless methods, bringing tissues and hand sanitiser, and getting off at less busy stations are also recommended.  

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the advice would help keep travellers safe, as he renewed his call for people to walk and cycle to work where possible.

The latest tranche of documents released this morning come after Boris Johnson unveiled his ‘exit strategy’.

Everyone in sectors that have not been closed down is now being urged to resume their jobs, even if they cannot work from home.

Commuters on the Tube at Canning Town in London today as the government urges people to return to work where possible

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (pictured in Downing Street at the weekend) said the new advice would help keep travellers safe, as he renewed his call for people to walk and cycle to work where possible

Detailed guidelines were issued last night for businesses to find ways of protecting workers by maintaining social distancing, or taking other steps such as installing screens. 

The transport advice published today stated: ‘You should avoid using public transport where possible. 

‘Instead try to walk, cycle, or drive. If you do travel, thinking carefully about the times, routes and ways you travel will mean we will all have more space to stay safe.’ 

Those who do need to use public transport are told to take ‘contactless payment card or pass’, a phone, hand sanitiser, tissues and a face covering. 

‘Taking a less busy route and reducing the number of changes (for example between bus and train) will help you keep your distance from others,’ the guidance said.

‘Try to start or end your journey using a station or mode of transport you know to be quieter or more direct. For instance, walk the first or last mile of your journey, or alight at an earlier station, where this is possible. 

Where it is not possible to keep two metres away from fellow passengers and staff ‘you should keep the time you spend nears others as short as possible and avoid physical contact’. 

‘There may be situations where you can’t keep a suitable distance from people, for example when boarding or alighting, on busier services, at busier times of day and when walking through interchanges,’ the guidance said.

‘In these cases you should avoid physical contact, try to face away from other people, and keep the time you spend near others as short as possible. If you can, wear a face covering on public transport.

‘Be aware of the surfaces you touch. Be careful not to touch your face. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.’

Mr Shapps said: ‘Transport operators and staff have been working hard to ensure that people who need to get to work are able to do so, including crucial NHS workers and all those on the frontline of the fight against the virus.

‘Alongside the cycling and walking revolution we are launching, and clear guidance to passengers and operators published today, we can all play our part by following the advice and reducing pressure on public transport.

A deserted Waterloo Station yesterday as people continue to avoid public transport where possible during the lockdown 

‘If we take these steps, all those who need to use public transport should feel confident that they can do so safely, with the space to maintain social distancing as far as possible.’

Guidance has also been updated for those driving to work. ‘If driving, you should anticipate more pedestrians and cyclists than usual, especially at peak times of day,’ it said. 

‘Allow other road users to maintain social distance, where possible. For example, give cyclists space at traffic lights. Public Health England recommends keeping a 2 metre distance from others, where possible.’

The documents insisted people should not linger at garages and motorway services. 

‘Limit the time you spend at garages, petrol stations and motorway services. Try to keep your distance from other people and if possible pay by contactless. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands when arriving and leaving,’ it said.

‘If people from different households use a vehicle (for example through a car share scheme), you should clean it between journeys using gloves and standard cleaning products. 

‘Make sure you clean door handles, steering wheel and other areas that people may touch.’

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