WEST Midlands Railway has put plans in place to make its trains as safe as possible.
Some ticket offices and other station retail outlets may close or operate to shortened hours, cleaning regimes have been stepped up, especially on high touch areas, including hand rails and ticket machine touch screens.
Close contact between staff and the travelling public has been limited.
For this reason people may not see the conductor on their train but, the operator said, people should be assured they are there if needed in an emergency.
“Our frontline staff, such as those on trains, at stations and in depots, cannot work from home.
“Many are coming to work while dealing with difficult personal circumstances relating to COVID-19.
“We ask you to understand the environment they are working in and support them as we all deal with these unprecedented circumstances.”
Trains are also being checked regularly throughout the day in addition to the cleaning which takes place in depots.
And, between now and May 31, 2020, the £10 administration fee for refunds has been waived for people if they have bought day tickets and then choose not to travel.
Season tickets, which have more than seven days remaining, are eligible for refunds but the £10 admin charge does apply.
Several passengers have reported trains being a lot emptier since Monday when the advice was given for people to avoid large gatherings.
For advance fares (which are non-refundable), if people are not able to travel, they will be able to change the date of travel free of charge for any journey due to be taken between March 17 and May 31. The only charge will be any difference in fare, if the chosen date is more expensive.
If you bought your ticket from us, we’re happy to temporarily waive the £10 admin fee when applying for a refund on single and return tickets (except Advance), for journeys between now and 31st May 2020.
First Worcester buses
BUS OPERATOR First Worcester has also stepped up its cleaning regime to prevent the spreading of COVID-19.
Hand sanitisers are being made available to drivers and passengers are being urged to follow Government advice on hygiene.
The operator added robust protocols and resources are being put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
And the company said the Government has made it clear that neither members of the public nor transport staff are at greater risk of infection from coronavirus when using rail or bus services than in other public spaces.
There have been no confirmed bus cancellations due to the Coronavirus, it added.
People should asked to self-isolate if they experience any of the symptoms – a high temperature or a prolonged constant cough.
Passengers not asked to self-isolate but experiencing other non-coronavirus conditions should only use public transport if it is absolutely necessary to prevent spreading of other illnesses.
Changes to older persons’ passes
It was also announced that concessionary pass-holders, such as the elderly, would get free all day travel during the pandemic.
Anyone holding a concessionary bus pass in Worcestershire will be able to travel for free on all public bus services before 09.30am
The changes are now in force.
Coun Alan Amos, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Highways said: “This initiative will help those residents who rely on public transport to access essential services during the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We appreciate that the current situation is difficult for many residents and hope that this temporary measure will provide greater flexibility at this time.”