‘Positive move’ - Transport operators welcome PM’s message to commuters

First Norwich buses general manager Chris Speed. First buses are making improvements to their servic

First Norwich buses general manager Chris Speed. First buses are making improvements to their service, including the bus colours, interior seating and routes. The Red Line bus. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Non-essential journeys on public transport are being encouraged by the prime minister in a speech which has been welcomed by Norfolk operators.

On Friday, Boris Johnson said advice to avoid using public transport has been lifted in England.

Guidance remained in place encouraging people to avoid peak times and adhere to social distancing and a reminder that it mandatory to wear face coverings while travelling.

It is welcome news to operators, who last week called for the government to move away from its advice to largely avoid public transport as they began reinstating many services.

Chris Speed, head of operations at First Eastern Counties, said; “This is a positive move forward as retail and workplaces start to open up as we move out of lockdown.

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“Over the last few months with lockdown in place, we have been concentrating on getting key workers and people needing to make essential journeys to their destinations safely.

“On average we have been carrying around 10pc of customers to what would normally be travelling, but over the last few weeks demand has started to increase and we have improved some frequencies and added more buses back into the bus network.

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“We still have a long way to go before we get back to some sort of normality but it is encouraging to see people having the confidence to get back to using our services.”

On the trains, Greater Anglia encourage customers to buy tickets in advance or use contactless.

The train operator is now running full services on all local routes, as well as more Norwich to London intercity services.

A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “We’re fully focused on providing a convenient and safe service for customers, as more people start to take the train again.

“Passengers are encouraged to stay safe while travelling this summer and should wear a mask, wash their hands or use hand sanitiser.

“We’ve also introduced a wide range of measures to make it easier for customers to observe social distancing at stations - including floor markings, one-way systems, new signs and queuing systems.”

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