Public transport passengers keen to maintain social distancing during the current pandemic will soon be able to use smartphone technology that indicates whether services are congested, the Transport Secretary has said.
Join other savvy professionals just like you at CIHT. We are committed to fulfilling your professional development needs throughout your career
‘Passenger Connect’ from Birmingham based start up company ZipAbout promises personalised journey information in real time and the suggestion of alternative routes to take. Roll out of the technology is expected shortly.
Company co founder Alex Froom said the technology “will help Britain get moving again by keeping people safe while they make essential journeys”.
During the Downing Street daily briefing on Saturday, Grant Shapps also said that twice the number of ‘marshals’ deployed at stations to prevent services being overcrowded will be introduced from 1 June. Last week nearly 3500 employees of the British Transport Police, Network Rail and Transport for London were drafted in as marshals.
He also pledged a further £254M to increase the number of buses and £29M to put on extra trams and light rail services to ensure there is extra space for people to use them safely.
For motorists, he set out a plan to increase the number of park and ride facilities outside town centres, “so people can park on the outskirts and finish their journeys on foot, bike or even e-scooter”. And individuals keen to bring old bicycles out of retirement will be able to apply for a £50 bike maintenance voucher.
York City Council’s executive member for environment and climate change Paula Widdowson welcomed the emphasis on more park and ride, but added that local authorities need greater certainty of funding to ensure plans can be delivered effectively.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham supported the extra money for public transport and the focus on active travel. “The political consensus around prioritising active travel is becoming stronger by the day and this is emerging as one area where the country is set to build back better,” he said.
A new survey published by passenger watchdog Transport Focus finds that four in 10 people will not use public transport again until they feel safe. The group’s chief executive Anthony Smith said it is important that steps are taken as the lockdown is eased “to rebuild confidence so that this anxiety doesn’t result in people turning their back on public transport or our roads become congested”.
But a second survey from motorist group the AA reveals that half of drivers will walk more and says 40% will drive less to maintain clearer air after lockdown measures end. The group’s president Edmund King said: “It’s gratifying that the vast majority of drivers want to do their bit to maintain the cleaner air”.
But he added: “We also need practical solutions to help people get around for essential and longer commuting journeys where perhaps public transport, walking or cycling are not viable”. He also called for bike rental schemes to be set up on the edge of cities at park and ride sites.
(Photograph: Department for Transport)