PM: ‘We are making clear that anybody may use public transport, while of course encouraging people to consider alternative means of transport’

 
Boris Johnson made the the announcement on July 17

 
Boris Johnson has dropped the ‘avoid public transport’ message in England. In a statement on Friday the prime minister said “from today we are making clear that anybody may use public transport, while of course encouraging people to consider alternative means of transport where they are available”.

The news was welcomed by public transport operators who saw passenger numbers collapse when the lockdown was introduced. “Buses and trains have a vital role in restarting the economy, and reconnecting people,” said Katy Taylor, commercial and customer director at Go-Ahead Group, a major bus and train operator. “With extra cleaning, face coverings, social distancing and the ability to plan journeys at quieter times, people can return to using buses and trains with confidence.

“Using public transport, alongside walking and cycling, is essential to our health and wellbeing. Car traffic is rising fast as the lockdown eases, leading to increased congestion in our towns and cities and higher air pollution. We cannot go from one health crisis into another.”

Representing bus operators, Graham Vidler, chief executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, said his members had worked hard to ensure that buses are safe for both passengers and drivers.

Moving away from the damaging avoid public transport message will be an important step in giving people the confidence to travel

“Moving away from the damaging avoid public transport message will be an important step in giving people the confidence to travel and we look forward to welcoming more passengers back onto buses,” he said.

“We now need the government to work with operators to encourage greater bus use as part of the green recovery. Without encouraging people back onto public transport we risk poorer air quality and increased congestion in our towns and cities as people continue to travel by car.”

 
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