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Railways: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Transport

UIN 41872, tabled on 1 May 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what plans he has for the safe use of trains when more commuters return to work.

Answered on

12 May 2020

Government advice to the public is to stay alert, and to only use public transport if they need to get to work if they cannot work from home. However, it is vital that our railways – and the transport sector as a whole - is ready to respond as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

My officials are working with SWR to understand what levels of capacity are possible on trains whilst maintaining social distancing. SWR are taking steps to protect passengers and staff through many means, including an increase in the cleaning regimes on trains and at stations, installing floor markings, removing every second Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) and encouraging passengers to download and use the SWR App to purchase tickets, using station posters and frequent PA announcements, removing where possible or restricting access to seats and benches at stations and closing waiting rooms, all to encourage social distancing. SWR are also working with the British Transport Police and Network Rail to manage crowding.

The rail industry is protecting staff in line with advice provided by Public Health England, and railway staff who are not essential to the safe and secure running of the railway continue to be able, wherever possible, to work from home.