With more people potentially travelling by train next week, train companies are urging people only to travel by rail if their journey is really necessary, and asking those who need to travel to use alternatives or to go at quieter times if they can.
The warning follows a 25% increase in people planning journeys this week.
The railway is gradually increasing services from next week and running longer trains in some places to cope with increasing demand during the next phase of the coronavirus response. However, there will still only be space for as few as a tenth of the usual number of people on board as people continue social distancing and operators are preparing for queues at stations.
Train companies are asking passengers to keep the railway clear for those who need it most. People who have no other way to travel and need to take the train are being asked to go at quieter times and to help train companies get them safely where they need to go. The rail industry is advising people to:
- Plan ahead: check before you travel as train times are changing next week. Buy tickets online, on mobile or on Smartcard and avoid travelling at busy times. If travelling on a long-distance service, you are strongly advised to make a reservation beforehand as capacity will be limited and you may otherwise not be able to travel.
- Consider others: people should wear a face covering to prevent spreading the virus. Respect our staff and be considerate to those less able as we all navigate a different way to travel.
- Stay safe: maintain social distancing where possible and pay contactless where available. Protect yourself by using hand sanitiser and washing your hands frequently.
Train companies are doing all they can to keep passengers and staff safe including cleaning stations and trains throughout the day, every day and providing staff with face masks. They are also managing capacity at stations and on trains, including by limiting ticket sales, as well as putting new social distancing signage up across the railway and introducing one-way systems where necessary to help people get around.
Robert Nisbet, Director of Nations and Regions at the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said:
“To keep people safe, there will only be space on trains for as few as a tenth of the usual number of people despite train companies gradually increase services next week. We need people’s help to keep trains clear for those who really need them so we are asking people to consider alternatives like cycling or walking and if that’s not possible, to travel at quieter times.
“We are doing everything possible to keep passengers and staff safe, including cleaning trains and stations several times a day, managing capacity and increasing signage to help people get around.
“For those who do need to take the train, we ask that they plan ahead, consider others and stay safe when they use public transport. That means buying tickets online for quieter times of day, maintaining social distancing wherever possible, wearing a face covering and keeping hands sanitised.”