New guidelines for public transport users have come into effect as part of the latest stage of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
The Government’s instruction to minimise travel ended from today, Monday 17 May.
Passengers are being advised to travel safely and follow covid-secure guidelines when making a journey.
When using public transport passengers should regularly sanitise their hands, wear face coverings, unless exempt, and keep to social distancing where possible, the Department for Transport said.
Key travel advice:
• Plan ahead and travel safely
• Check before you travel
• Sanitise your hands
• Wear a face covering unless exempt, and keep your distance where possible.
• On your journey - open a window to increase ventilation, where possible
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, said that the network was fully covid-secure and safe to welcome more passengers back as lockdown continues to ease.
Customer Services Director, Huw Lewis, said: “Public transport is safe and secure and we look forward to welcoming customers back, who can have the confidence to travel when they need to.
“The Government’s instruction to minimise travel has ended. Public transport operators have done a huge amount of work to ensure networks are covid-secure as we emerge from lockdown.
“People should ensure that they travel safely by following the guidelines. This includes social distancing as much as possible, planning ahead and travelling at quiet times, and always wearing face coverings unless you have an exemption.
“The Tyne and Wear Metro is a covid-secure transport system. We have taken a range of steps to ensure that we meet the highest standards.
“Measures include signage and queueing systems, extra deep cleaning on a daily basis with disinfectant, the use of a specialist anti-microbial spray to protect high touch surfaces for 28 days, UV light sanitisers on escalators, and hand sanitiser points at key locations. Customers are advised to keep the windows open on the trains to allow fresh air into the carriages.
“We are seeing more passengers returning as the restrictions ease. If we follow the travel guidance we can all continue to play our part in the ongoing return to normality.”
Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health for Gateshead, said: “We all know the importance of fresh air in the fight against Covid, but it also offers many other benefits for our health and wellbeing. Fewer cars on the road during the pandemic has led to a welcome reduction in air pollution, so let’s not undo that now.
“Local travel providers have done a fantastic job of introducing social distancing measures and thorough cleaning regimes, making public transport both safe and sustainable. Incorporating active travel into your routine, even if that’s just a short walk to the bus stop, can also improve your physical and mental wellbeing – which is much needed for many of us, especially after the challenges of the last year or so.
“So as restrictions ease and we can start to venture further afield, please consider leaving the car at home.”