Essential travel restriction on public transport to be lifted

The Welsh Government has confirmed the essential travel restriction on public transport will be lifted from tomorrow (Monday, 17 August), opening up trains and buses to more potential passengers.

The essential travel message was introduced to prioritise the travel of key workers, as well as those with no alternative mode of transport.

The lifting of the restriction comes as the number of coronavirus cases continues to fall. It is the latest in the Welsh Government’s step-by-step approach to making changes to coronavirus restrictions.

Over recent months the Welsh Government has provided funding to support public transport, helping to make up for the inevitable loss of revenue. Most recently this included last week’s announcement of £10m to support the bus industry in providing more services.

The requirement to wear a face covering on public transport in Wales remains in place, although there are some exceptions such as being unable to wear one because of a physical or mental illness.

Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, said:

“As we continue to carefully ease restrictions we are able to lift the essential travel message that was in place to allow our key workers to travel safely.

“But with the virus still in circulation it’s essential that people act responsibility when using public transport. This will involve planning journeys to avoid busy periods if possible, and washing or sanitising hands at the start and end of each trip. Face coverings are mandatory on public transport and could lead to passengers being refused travel if they are not being worn.

“I’d like to thank all those who’ve helped keep Wales safe so far, including the staff who have kept our public transport network running during these difficult times.”

James Price, Transport for Wales CEO said:

“The safety of colleagues and customers is our top priority and we’ve increased our safety measures on our trains, buses and at our stations.

“At our railway stations there are one-way systems, clear instructional signs, hand sanitiser facilities, extra staff and cleaners.

“I’d like to reinforce the message that it is now mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport and those failing to comply with the rules, who are not exempt, will be refused travel and could be fined by the British Transport Police.  These measures are to ensure the safety of other customers and our colleagues and we expect people to take personal responsibility to comply.”