What is Being Done to Ensure Social Distancing on UK Transport?
There are few areas of the UK’s economy that have been hit quite as brutally as the transport industry. With almost every flight since March cancelled and up to a 95% reduction in Transport for London’s passenger base, the industry has been largely propped up by emergency bailouts.
But recently there have been signs of life, as more and more people have been encouraged to return to work and an end-of-summer holiday seems entirely possible. But the return of commercial flights and leisure train trips raises some key questions: how can you stay safe on tubes and buses that are designed to pack as many people in as possible? And what will social distancing on UK transport look like in the immediate future?
How the London Underground will work with social distancing
When it comes to social distancing on UK transport there’s no greater conundrum than the tube. The Mayor of London’s recent actions seem to suggest that it simply won’t be viable for the vast majority of people in the coming months.
In creating a “bike tube” network as well as increasing pedestrian routes across central London, Sadiq Khan is clearly trying to steer the public away from the underground as much as possible whilst keeping the city green and keeping car emissions down to a minimum. In fact, we don’t expect to see much, if any, major underground activity for the rest of this year.
How the Eurostar is adapting to social distancing rules
The Eurostar is setting a particularly strong example to transport operators worldwide, because it is focusing on both short- and longer-term solutions.
In the hope that passengers will be able to travel between the UK and France without any quarantine in the immediate future, Eurostar are halving their maximum number of passengers and making face masks mandatory.
But in the long term, Eurostar are hoping to offer a fully contactless travel experience, and are trialling biometric technology from March of next year. This will mean that passengers will be able to board without touching their passport on scanners or passing it to a security guard. This seems like a proactive move in avoiding the spread of not only the coronavirus but any other infectious diseases in the future.
How will planes cope with social distancing measures?
Airlines know just how sceptical the public will be about flying in this time, so they’re not messing around when it comes to safety measures. The go-to solution to social distancing on planes seems to be leaving the middle seat on each side empty, but some passengers will still be concerned that those sat directly behind them will be within a one-metre radius.
On top of social distancing measures, airlines are having to work very hard to convince people that it’s fully safe. Using public transport to visit a friend for a day is one thing, but the risks of flying abroad to holiday this summer are far greater, and getting ill as a result would be a disaster. EasyJet have responded by pushing hard to promote their ‘Fly with Confidence’ pledge, which involves 24-hour disinfectant on all surfaces and face masks being replaced every 4 hours.
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