PUBLIC transport use across the region has dropped by 86 per cent since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
The figures, relating to rail, bus and tram usage, have been revealed by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) which said it showed people were adhering to Government advice to only travel if it was absolutely necessary.
The advice from Number 10 is that people should only leave their homes for four reasons –
1. To shop for essential items.
2. To care for vulnerable people or for a medical appointment.
3. For a daily exercise session which should be done locally.
4. For work and only if that work could not be done at home.
Transport bosses have thanked the vast majority of regular commuters who are staying at home and the hard working staff who have kept the network running for key workers and those collecting essential shopping and medical supplies.
The largest fall came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s lockdown announcement.
But TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), is concerned a small minority of travellers are still making non-essential journeys as usage in Birmingham and the West Midlands remains slightly higher than similar UK cities under coronavirus lockdown.
TfWM has urged everyone to follow the Government advice and only travel if essential.
West Midlands Railway announced a reduced timetable last weekend and the region’s largest bus operator National Express West Midlands and West Midlands Metro announced new timetables and reductions in services from today.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Thank you to everyone who is following the Government’s clear advice and staying at home.
“This significant reduction in public transport use shows that the vast majority of people across the West Midlands are acting very responsibly in these incredibly challenging and unprecedented times.
“However some people are still travelling unnecessary, and I would urge these people to please listen to the Government advice and protect yourself and others. If we are going to beat Coronavirus then everyone in the West Midlands needs to play their part.
“For those who have to travel on public transport, such as key workers, please remember to socially distance and take appropriate precautions where possible, such as eliminating the use of cash and paying via contactless methods.”
People who must use public transport should keep their distance by remaining two metres away from other passengers at stops, not crowding the doors when getting on board, stay back when queuing to maintain the two metres and use mobile, smartcard or contactless payments to reduce the use of cash.
People should also not sit next to someone else onboard if possible as most services are quiet and while regular cleaning is in place, passengers should limit the number of surfaces they touch.
Anyone who coughs or sneezes should catch it in a tissue or into the crook of their arm and use hand sanitiser straight away. Tissues should be disposed of straight away.
Two-metre gaps should be left between passengers and the person in front when leaving the bus, train or tram.
Yesterday the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK was at 1,228.
With regard to the testing – 127,737 people had been tested. There were 108,215 negative and 19,522 positive.
The stay at home warnings are in place to stop the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.
Visit networkwestmidlands.com/plan-your-journey/network-overview/ for more information.