People in North East England are advised they can still use public transport services during Tier 3 Covid restrictions, but where possible should reduce the number journey that they make.
Residents can continue to travel for work and for education, and other journeys which are essential, such as for medical treatment, social care responsibilities and visiting people in a support bubble.
Tier 3 advice states that people should reduce the number of journeys they make wherever this is possible, avoid car sharing, and walk or cycle if you can.
Passengers must wear a face covering unless exempt and should follow safety guidelines – keep your distance from other passengers, wash your hands frequently and use contactless payments.
You must not travel if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms, are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms, or have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “Our region is now under Tier 3 restrictions and that means people can still use public transport but they should reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.
“You can use transport services for work and education, or when the journey is essential for other purposes, and wear a face covering when travelling unless you are exempt. You should also wash hands and use sanitiser throughout the day and keep as much space as possible from other people.
“Bus and Metro in the North East is Covid-secure thanks to the constant effort of the people who work on it, with new guidance and signage to aid social distancing, extra cleaning regimes with special anti-microbial products, and the use of hand sanitiser points at busy stops and routes.
“The other people that make public transport safe are our customers, who by following the rules make sure we can all travel safely. Passengers are reminded that face coverings are mandatory, unless exempt, and they must be worn throughout your journey. We have new customer support teams patrolling on the network to engage and support people with the new rules.
“Metro is running a frequent service with a train every six or seven minutes through the centre of Newcastle. This will cope with demand but we ask shoppers to avoid the traditional morning and afternoon peak times when there are more commuters and students and school pupils travelling.
“We have drafting in extra colleagues to help customers maintain social distancing. Please follow the advice of our customer service teams if you are asked to queue before boarding.”
Bus companies and Nexus, which operates Metro and the Shields Ferry, already have extensive measures in place to provide a covid-secure experience.
This includes additional cleaning and anti-microbial treatment, contactless and smart payment, guidance to help people maintain distance throughout their journey, sanitiser points at busy stations and interchanges, and apps to help you see when buses and trains are busy.
More than 100 extra buses every day are operating to get pupils to school while maintaining distance and separation from other passengers.
The web pages www.nexus.org,uk/covid-secure provide advice to passengers and links to information for all the region’s main transport operators.