Metro Mayor calls for parents and children to plan their journeys as they prepare to head back to school
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is urging students across the city region to think about their journey as they prepare to go back to school, college or university from September.
The Mayor, who has responsibility for transport across the region, has stressed the importance of people planning ahead to make their journeys as smooth as possible.
Merseytravel has been working with transport operators and partners to put plans in place to provide the best level of transport services possible in what remain very challenging times.
Key information and advice are being promoted through the ReThink Travel campaign to make sure that parents and children are aware of new measures put in place to help keep everyone safe as a result of the Coronavirus.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:
“Getting our young people back into school and to something resembling normality is really important. But it is just as important to make sure that they are able to get there safely and smoothly.
“We are working with bus and rail operators to put every possible safeguard in place, but this will only work if everyone plays their part. So, I am asking everyone to do your bit too.
“Transport isn’t going to look like it did 6 months ago. It is now more important than ever that you plan your journeys ahead of time. Think about how and when you will travel, how you are going to pay for it and make sure you always remember to wear a face covering.
“Things might be a little strange at first and we might not get everything perfect first time, but we are committed to making transport as safe and reliable as we can during these unprecedented times.”
Those making shorter journeys are encouraged to walk or cycle where possible, leaving public transport available for those who have to make longer journeys.
Trains and buses are running and, while capacity may be reduced due to social distancing, services are being gradually increased where possible in the run up to September.
As it is difficult to predict demand across every service, people are strongly advised to check directly with rail and bus operators for the latest service information and timetables on a regular basis as things may change.
Demand across the network will be closely monitored, particularly during the first couple of days of term, to enable operators to swiftly respond to any issues and concerns.
Where possible, operators will look to enhance the service provision on busy routes and customer feedback will be valuable and welcomed. There will also be staff placed across the network to monitor demand.
Parents and students are being reminded that children aged 11+ must remember to wear a face covering* and if they haven’t used public transport for a while they may want to do this before the term starts to understand the changes in place.
Operators have worked very hard to put a range of key measures in place to help keep everyone safe. This includes enhanced cleaning regimes that focus on things like touch points such as doors, handrails, seats and ticket machines.
As arrangements for different schools will vary, parents and students are being advised to check with their school to understand any local arrangements being put in place.
Area Managing Director of Arriva Merseyside Howard Farrall on behalf of the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance said:
“Throughout the COVID19 crisis, we have been committed to safely serving our communities and keeping our customers moving through the ongoing delivery of essential bus services – this commitment is also to our school & college passengers, as the region gears up for the start of the new academic year in early September.
“As bus operators, we have been working closely with Merseytravel to ensure a robust bus service timetable is in place and that key routes requiring extra resource have been identified.
“We will be following DFT guidance regarding social distancing for public transport, particularly for schools services, as well as using our websites, journey planning apps and social media platforms to keep our customers updated on important schools & college service information.”
Andy Heath, Managing Director at Merseyrail, said:
“Merseyrail has continued to operate throughout the pandemic, and in the last months as lockdown restrictions have eased we have been able to reintroduce a lot of services that were withdrawn during the peak of COVID-19. In line with schools returning in September and more people expected to return to their workplaces, we will be reintroducing more services.
“To ensure the safety of those travelling with us, we have put special hygiene and social distancing measures in place and ask our passengers to adhere to travel advice, especially with regards to wearing face coverings, to protect both themselves and others around them.”
*For exemptions please visit the Government website.
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