Public transport users should face away from each other when they cannot keep a two-metre gap, the Government has said.
New guidance issued by the Department for Transport on how to travel safely during the coronavirus outbreak states that passengers should minimise the time they spend near other people and avoid physical contact with them.
It acknowledges that “there may be situations where you can’t keep a suitable distance from people”, such as on busier services or at peak times.
The document states: “In these cases you should avoid physical contact, try to face away from other people.”
It goes on: “The risk of infection increases the closer you are to another person with the virus and the amount of time you spend in close contact.”
Transport operators are being urged to rearrange, remove or limit seating “to try and ensure social distancing is observed”.
This may include blocking off seats in close proximity to others and removing face-to-face seating.
Single users of black cabs and minicabs should sit in the back left-hand seat of cars, according to the guidance.
As part of the @BorisJohnson road map for the next phase of the pandemic, our guidance for passengers and operators will help ensure public transport is safe for those who need it. Find out more 👉 https://t.co/w4ToWgv4r7 #TravelSafely🚌🚉🚆— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) May 12, 2020
Passengers are advised to “avoid using public transport where possible” and should “instead try to walk, cycle or drive”.
People who do travel should be “thinking carefully about the times, routes and ways you travel”.
The guidance states that “if you can, wear a face covering if you need to use public transport”.
Passengers are also advised that after completing their journey they should wash or sanitise their hands.
Speaking in the Commons, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We continue to ask people to only go to work if they cannot do their jobs from home, that’s because even as transport begins to revert to a full service, the two-metre distancing rule will only leave effective capacity for one in 10 passengers overall. One in 10.
“Therefore, it’s crucial that we protect our network by minimising the pressures placed upon it and ensure it’s ready to serve those who most need it.
“We are actively asking those who need to make journeys to their place of work or other essential trips to walk or to cycle wherever possible.”