Coronavirus: How can you keep yourself safe when using public transport?

12 May 2020, 15:08

Some people will return to work on Wednesday
Some people will return to work on Wednesday. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The government has announced new guidelines for the public on how to travel safely during the coronavirus pandemic. But how can people travel to work? And should we all be wearing face masks on transport?

While the government has told people to continue work from home wherever possible, those who cannot are advised to return to work from Wednesday.

People returning to work are being urged to avoid using public transport where possible, and instead try to walk, cycle, or drive, however this is not possible for everyone.

The new government advice sets out a series of measures passengers should take if must travel by underground, bus, train or taxi.

Here is everything you need to know about traveling safely during the pandemic.

READ MORE: Commuters told to 'wear face coverings, use contactless and avoid rush hour'

The government has set out guidelines for public transport use
The government has set out guidelines for public transport use. Picture: PA

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How do I socially distance on public transport?

The Department for Transport has told operators to rearrange, remove or limit seating to ensure social distancing is observed.

This is likely to include seats being blocked off and any face to face seating being out of bounds.

People are advised not to get too close to others for more than a short amount of time. To help this, the department has said to wait until other passengers get off any vehicle before attempting board and waiting for the next service if it is unsafe to board.

The new guidelines state: "The risk of infection increases the closer you are to another person with the virus and the amount of time you spend in close contact."

However, the guidance also acknowledges that there may be situations where social distancing is not possible. In these incidences, people are advised to face away from each other.

READ MORE: Couple and friends living apart will be able to meet in parks with social distancing

Boris Johnson's coronavirus lockdown speech

Should I be wearing a face mask?

The government guidance states that there are circumstances where a face covering can be beneficial as a precautionary measure.

“The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms.

"This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas,” the document states.

However the document makes clear that these do not need to be medical grade face masks, which should be reserved for those in roles that need them most, such as the NHS.

READ MORE: How to make and wear a face mask

How to make your own face mask

How should I pay for transport?

The Department for Transport has told people to book travel online wherever possible through transport operator ticketing apps and websites.

If people are unable to do this, they should use contactless to buy tickets.

People are also advised to pay contactless at petrol stations if travelling by car.

READ MORE: Commuters told to wear face masks as part of Boris Johnson's coronavirus plan

Ben Kentish quizzes Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

Can I car share?

Anyone who normally car shares to work with someone who lives outside their house is advised not to by the Department of Transport.

Instead, they suggest people walk, cycle or use their own vehicle.

However, if you have to travel with people outside your household group, it recommends sharing the vehicle with the same people each time and keeping to small groups of people at any one time.

It adds that this is another instance where people may want to wear a face covering.

READ MORE: Railway worker dies of coronavirus after being spat on at work