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Limits on journeys

Train and bus capacity slashed in return to work

Roads will be closed and more people will be encouraged to walk (pic: Terry Murden)

More than a million Scottish commuters will be unable to take their regular daily journey to work by bus or train under strict new social distancing rules.

Government measures to manage the return to work will severely restrict capacity and thousands will be encouraged to walk, cycle or continue working from home to ease the burden on the transport network.

Those who do use public transport will be forced to wear masks and avoid peak times, while employers will be asked to stagger start times and introduce shorter working weeks.

Bus and tram users will be asked to queue at safe distances and use contactless payment cards where available, while the largest rail stations will have floor markings. Waiting rooms will be closed.

Customers can expect an increase in the time it takes to buy a ticket at a station and board a train, and there may be occasions when boarding their normal train may not be possible in busier times. Buying tickets in advance through the ScotRail app or website will reduce waiting times.

The government accepts there “may be a tendency to use private cars” but makes no mention of providing additional parking facilities, such as park and ride.

During lockdown, the demand for public transport has fallen by 85% to 95% against the “normal” levels and operators have reduced services across all modes, For example, rail services are running at approximately 40% and bus around 30%.

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Operators estimate capacity will be between 10% and 25% of normal availability even with full services resumed. 

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “A system that previously had 1.5 million journeys per day will be significantly constrained.

“So today, I am urging employers, operators and the public to embrace these changes and help us all adapt to a new environment which has flexible and remote working at its core, for the immediate future at least, flattens peak travel demand and has a strong focus on active travel.”

Today’s travel guidance is published as part of the Transport Transition Plan.

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