Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is asking commuters and parents on the school run returning to the roads this month to consider making their journeys by walking, cycling or scooting.
The first weeks of September, which usually see the return of schools after the summer break and post-holiday commuters heading to work, have always had an impact on the road network.
While all buses, trains, and trams will be out on the West Midlands network, more journeys are expected to take place in private cars due to ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19, and the impact this year could be particularly severe.
TfWM is reminding commuters that public transport is being carefully managed to provide a safe and clean environment and is offering the following guidance to commuters:
- Use contactless and mobile ticketing solutions where possible
- Travellers should wash or sanitise their hands before and after each journey, with sanitising stations installed at key rail and bus stations
- Consider walking or cycling shorter distances on the growing regional cycle lane network
- Employers can help by allowing flexible working arrangements, such as staggered start times, that can ease demand across the network
- If you need to drive, consider parking a street or two away from the school gate and walk the rest of the journey to keep everybody safe and prevent congestion
Face coverings must be worn by everyone over 11 years old using public transport, unless exempt under Government guidelines. TfWM is using its Safer Travel police team to help educate people on the importance of this.
Anne Shaw, Director, Network Resilience at TfWM, said: “We’re committed to getting children back to school and people back to the office in a safe and sensible way and now we need the public to help play their part in this huge transport challenge. Our public transport services across the West Midlands are a clean and reliable solution and we are being vigilant in ensuring that social distancing is observed.
“We ask that everyone considers minimising the congestion on region’s roads wherever possible and consider other options for commuting or getting to school or college.
“Ensuring a safe, clean, and reliable transport network has been TfWM’s mission since lockdown began. Social distancing measures are now in place across every bus, train and tram service, as well as at stops and stations.
“These measures do mean that capacity on public transport is reduced and there may not be room for everyone on their usual service so the more people who can be flexible in the time they travel the better. Operators are providing information online about when their services are expected to be busy.
“The best advice we can give is to ensure that wherever possible everyone is planning their journey before they travel.”
Employers should continue with, where possible, flexible working arrangements to stagger peak demand or limit journeys being made on the network. For those needed in the workplace, employees should check their journeys before they travel and try to avoid the school travel times to leave enough capacity to get our children back to school safely.
The advice to everyone travelling across the West Midlands in September is to plan ahead. For timetables and detailed safety advice visit wmnetwork.co.uk