How safe is the post-lockdown commute to work? : CityAM

After more than four months of being blocked, Londoners are returning to the office as public transport operators take measures to make once-daily commuting as safe as possible from corona viruses.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave employers "more discretion" as of August 1 to bring their employees back if it was safe.

And business leaders like Barclays & # 39; Jes Staley are striving to end their forced exodus from London's business centers in City and Canary Wharf.

However, you have to deal with employees who may not be willing to give up their couches and longer showers for 6 o'clock alarms and crowded train carriages.

Continue reading: England lockdown: guidelines for public transport and jobs need to be relaxed

For others, health remains the main concern. According to the commuter guardian Transport Focus, three out of ten employees "don't feel safe in public transport at the moment".

One of the biggest challenges in the coming months could be to convince employees that traveling is actually safe.

Not surprisingly, public transport operators have been in full swing since the Corona virus shutdown has waned. They have introduced monumental cleaning systems, social detachment and the mandatory wearing of masks to make commuting as safe as possible for passengers.

Continue reading: TfL stops 30,000 commuters who don't wear face masks

Claire Mann, head of bus transportation at Transport for London (TfL), says that one of the main goals of the transportation network for the coming weeks and months is to convince people that traveling is safe.

“With the restrictions waning, we have to do our part to help the economy recover by making sure people have the confidence to get back on public transportation,” she says City of A.M.

"What we really want to do is encourage people to go back to public transport and we want to make sure they realize that it is clean and safe."

What have transport companies done to make commuting safer?

Railway operators have set up a comprehensive package of measures to ensure that shuttle services are clean after the closure.

For example, Southern Rail cleans each of its 2,700 wagons overnight and also performs “turnaround cleaning operations”. This includes disinfecting seats, armrests, tables, door knobs and grab handles every time a service enters a station.

Southern also applies a chemical called Zoono to his cars every 21 days. Customer service manager Chris Fowler tells City of A.M. The product offers 30 days protection against the virus. Other operators such as Southeastern Rail and TfL also use the disinfectant.

Govia Thameslink Railway employees spray Zoono as an anti-coronavirus measure at St. Alban's station. (Photo credit: GTR)

According to Fowler, Southern Rail also created a Covid 19 plan for each station. Disinfection stations, one-way streets and emergency plans have been added to avoid overcrowding of commuters after the closure.

It also tries to adhere to two meters of social distance measures in all of its services, even though the government has reduced the official guidelines to "one meter plus".

According to Fowler, many of these steps are the same for all operators to "create a seamless journey for customers so they don't face a company that does something different."

Some have asked scientists to test how effective their approaches are for coronavirus-safe commuters. Last month, Imperial College biologists performed coronavirus testing at high-frequency touch points and in the air at Vauxhall, Pimlico, and Victoria stations. All 24 samples were negative.

Southeastern has also done so at five of its stations, with the same result: no coronavirus was found, and it will now run tests at all stations before the passengers actually start to commute.

This is how you secure your shuttle traffic after being blocked against corona viruses

Passengers can also ensure that their way to work after the lock is as safe as possible from coronavirus. The advice is pretty simple, says Fowler – wash your hands, wear a mask, and review your travel arrangements to avoid busy services.

Even better – avoid using public transportation if you can walk or bike to work to minimize the risk of a corona virus.

So far, the majority of commuters seem to have followed these instructions. London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the Transport Select Committee last week that 90 percent of Londoners who use TfL public transport comply with the coronavirus face mask rules. Another five percent are exempt for medical reasons.

Is it safe to use public transportation in the middle of the corona virus?

However, there remains a feeling that many people still need to be convinced that using public transportation is actually safe while the corona virus continues to be a threat.

The success of the government's previous "Stay At Home" news is partly due to it, says Katy Taylor, commercial director of the Go-Ahead Group.

"In the beginning, the government was very nervous about the number of people who use public transportation because of social distance," she says City of A.M. "But this mutated into the understanding that public transport itself was unsafe."

"But this justification was only for social distancing – public transport is not and was never unsafe," she adds.

Man agrees. She says that using public transportation is "at least" as safe as visiting the pub or supermarket, "if not safer" for commuters after the closure.

Continue reading: According to a new study, people are more likely to contract coronavirus at home

Could corona virus end commuting at rush hour?

The best thing commuters can do is avoid the dreaded rush hour.

Thanks to social distance rules, underground services can only safely transport up to 25 percent of their capacity, which increases to 40 percent for buses.

Continue reading: Transport for London tests thermal imaging cameras to detect symptoms of Covid

TfL and others state that they have contacted companies to ask them to postpone their employees' working hours if possible.

At Southern, for example, employees provide companies with data on how busy their stations are in 15-minute increments throughout the day to reduce peak demand.

It seems to be working again. Mann and Fowler both say travel patterns have changed in the past few weeks.

Corona virus can lead to a decrease in dreaded commuting during rush hour, as people travel at different times of the day instead.

"We saw the peak shift – it's much earlier now. We used to talk about seven to eight thirty as the busiest time, but now it starts at five or half past four and it's really widespread," explains Fowler.

More than one in three commuters in the Transport Focus survey stated that he believes that his job will be at home in the future and that he can only travel to work to a limited extent. Among those who were previously commuters, this number rose to almost half.

Continue reading: Working from home costs the London hospitality sector GBP 2.3 billion

Could rush hour be a thing of the past? Tour operators suspect that after the corona virus we saw the last overcrowded commuting with public transport. But the City of A.M. talked to waiting to see what happens when more people travel in the coming months.

Commuters can “manage” the risk of the coronavirus

Although more people are now using public transport again, according to Mann, TfL does not expect an increase if the government's work ends at home in early August.

Instead, London's transport company is preparing for a “slow rise through September”.

When commuters return in large numbers, Mann says it is important that operators try to develop a sense of normalcy to reassure them.

But ultimately, as Taylor says City of A.M.Commuters also have a responsibility to deal with the risks they want to take.

Continue reading: PM calls for driverless subway trains in the TfL rescue package

“The risks in public transport are no greater than in a number of other roads. They are no bigger than a pub, supermarket or work place. So it's about evaluating the risk, ”she said.

"Ultimately, it's as safe as anything you'll do outside of your home."

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