As train operators start to increase the number of services they are running, and the government’s requirement that face coverings be worn on public transport came into force on 15 June, passengers have been encouraged to stay alert and sensible.
CrossCountry Trains explained why face coverings are now necessary. “We are doing this to further reduce the risk of infection,” the company said. “Used properly, face coverings can help prevent the spread of the disease. Social distancing and good hand hygiene are still very important.
“The government’s instructions state that a face covering is a cloth that should ‘cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.’
“We want people to wear face coverings from when they enter a station all the way through their journey, including exiting the station at the other end. If people are then moving onto the bus, tram or tube, they should avoid taking off their face covering while they interchange to avoid touching their face or mouth unnecessarily.”
Children under 11 are exempt from wearing face coverings, and some passengers may not be able to wear a mask due to medical issues. Regardless of whether someone is wearing a mask, people should keep their distance – at least two metres, if possible.
Passengers are still being urged to travel only if it is absolutely necessary. Some train operators, such as Avanti West Coast, are recommending that all passengers book a seat, so as to be sure they can catch the train that they want, and avoid peak periods. Other operators, including LNER, are going further and insisting on reservations, even for season ticket holders and those travelling on a flexible ticket.
It can be a bit confusing, but the message is clear: “Don’t travel by train unless you really have to, and check both the timetable and what restrictions the operator is imposing upon passengers before you travel.”
LNER issued this video to inform its passengers: