Could mandatory mask-wearing replace social distancing on public transport, thus increasing capacity?

furlong

Established Member
Joined
28 Mar 2013
Messages
2,245
Location
Reading
Maybe 'essential journeys only' on the railway is similar to the way that so many individual schools voluntarily chose to send most pupils home even though the government never required them to do so. The law and regulations say one thing but the powers that be expect everyone to do something else.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

phil1960

Member
Joined
28 Nov 2008
Messages
66
Location
North London
Whats the point of increasing capacity of public transport when we have nowhere to go.
Nowhere to go? Shops have re-opened. Beaches and countryside walks have never closed. You can travel to meet others in an open space (a park, a back garden) and for those that have been stuck at home, the "bubble" is a vital step to getting people to meet up with each other in their home again. All of these may need transport to reach. Car drivers are fine, but according to some TOCs, rail travel is out of bounds.

Phil
 

Bantamzen

Established Member
Joined
4 Dec 2013
Messages
4,785
Location
Baildon, West Yorkshire
I definitely think that the mandatory wearing of masks should signal the end of any social distancing on public transport. Mandating that both masks & 1/2m distancing be enforced will only serve to not only make public transport completely unviable with capacity reduction, but will also serve to cause the public to increasingly avoid it not just during this period but for very long periods into the future.

The government could help by making sure that operators comply with their advice rather than run off and make up their own conditions, which at the moment for some means basically "we don't want anyone on our trains" (and seemingly supported by the unions). In some ways I actually can't blame them, the current situation with the government bankrolling the railways, means that TOCs have zero incentive to encourage passenger use, in fact the fewer there are the easier it is for them. But this won't last for much longer, once summer rolls past and they have to start making money for themselves they might be in for a shock. Hopefully by then mandatory human avoidance & muzzling will be a thing of the past, but I think the messaging needs to change sooner rather than later.
 

Skymonster

Member
Joined
7 Feb 2012
Messages
1,012
I agree but it's possible that ticket sales may question me and not agree about whether leisure travel is allowed. If I have to travel, even for leisure, I would at least make it seem like I'm making an "essential journey". While the current restrictions are in place I'd be scared of saying that I'm voluntarily travelling via public transport.
I'm not having a dig at you @NorthOxonian, but... We have reached a very sorry state of affairs if the government has not only managed to convince some people that travelling by train is a bad idea, but also despite it being totally legal to travel by train the government's propaganda has made some people scared to ask to buy a ticket.
 

Huntergreed

Member
Joined
16 Jan 2016
Messages
876
Location
Dumfries
Sturgeon touched on this today. She mandated mask wearing in Scotland on all public transport. She did however, specifically mention that masks were not effective enough to mitigate the need for social distancing onboard trains or any public transport, and so it sounds like, until phase 4, which is to happen much later. If this doesn’t change, the Scottish economy is going to struggle to break even let alone grow again in many sectors.
 

geoffk

Established Member
Joined
4 Aug 2010
Messages
1,446
Depends whether their local statiion is Sheffield !

As to your question in the OP, I actually thought that was given as the rationale for compulsory mask-wearing when it was first mooted. In practice it's introduction has resulted, round here at least, in the blocking off of seats on trains, buses and trams thus reducing capacity from what it was when masks were not compulsory.
What's happening in Sheffield?
 

HSTEd

Veteran Member
Joined
14 Jul 2011
Messages
11,356
Nowhere to go? Shops have re-opened. Beaches and countryside walks have never closed. You can travel to meet others in an open space (a park, a back garden) and for those that have been stuck at home, the "bubble" is a vital step to getting people to meet up with each other in their home again. All of these may need transport to reach. Car drivers are fine, but according to some TOCs, rail travel is out of bounds.

Phil
While shops are technically open, they do not really make an appealing prospect - forced to queue for longer than you are i the shop, unable to handle goods, and simply a procession through to the exit.
Little gained over simple online shopping at this point.

And without the daily commute to work, which is fundamentally a major part of public transport loading, the needed capacity is absolutely tiny.
 

BJames

Member
Joined
27 Jan 2018
Messages
458
While shops are technically open, they do not really make an appealing prospect - forced to queue for longer than you are i the shop, unable to handle goods, and simply a procession through to the exit.
Little gained over simple online shopping at this point.

And without the daily commute to work, which is fundamentally a major part of public transport loading, the needed capacity is absolutely tiny.
Obviously commuting represents a sizeable loss of capacity but I can't agree that the needed capacity now is tiny. If people weren't being constantly told to avoid public transport for fear of an immediate death sentence, a lot more people would be travelling. Some of my local trains are usually consistently busier throughout the day on weekends than they are off-peak at weekdays: it's day trippers and shoppers that the railway could attract right now if they wanted to. Clearly they don't, but this ludicrous policy can't go on forever.

As I've said before, despite the fact that shopping right now certainly isn't the most appealing thing, I have people I want to see, and I can't do this with a car. I'd also happily take the train for a day trip, and if the weather picks up again I may do this next week anyway. But even if I did have a car, others have rightly pointed out that it doesn't really matter anyway, because I can use the train. Thankfully Northern isn't my local operator.
 

mmh

Established Member
Joined
13 Aug 2016
Messages
2,347
Obviously commuting represents a sizeable loss of capacity but I can't agree that the needed capacity now is tiny. If people weren't being constantly told to avoid public transport for fear of an immediate death sentence, a lot more people would be travelling. Some of my local trains are usually consistently busier throughout the day on weekends than they are off-peak at weekdays: it's day trippers and shoppers that the railway could attract right now if they wanted to. Clearly they don't, but this ludicrous policy can't go on forever.
I think the use of trains must be massively varied in different areas. I often see the daily train from London if I'm out for a walk or run (I sometimes time myself so I can have a nose at it.) Each time it appears to have no passengers. On Tuesday it was cancelled between Llandudno Junction and Holyhead after arriving 90 minutes late. Presumably there was nobody on board so someone took the reasonable decision there was no point going further (it is ECS to Crewe for overnight stabling after a long timetabled wait at Holyhead so there's no concern over getting back on a schedule.) It would be interesting to know if the train is being used in England.
 

underbank

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2013
Messages
1,473
Location
North West England
How will the airlines cope then? In supermarkets, social distancing exists in name only. Almost no one wears a mask. The chances of anyone being able to prove where they caught Covid are rather slim.
Surely the test and trace system will be able to highlight where people have been infected, i.e. if several new infections all happened to be on flight ABC101 on 18 June, or if several new infections all shopped at M&S in Tunbridge Wells on 18/6/20, it's pretty obvious that's the common link.
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
23,625
Location
Yorks
Surely the test and trace system will be able to highlight where people have been infected, i.e. if several new infections all happened to be on flight ABC101 on 18 June, or if several new infections all shopped at M&S in Tunbridge Wells on 18/6/20, it's pretty obvious that's the common link.
I presume that their must be a fair amount of data about where infections are arising from this source already but it hasn't filtered down yet.
 

Bikeman78

Member
Joined
26 Apr 2018
Messages
1,102
Surely the test and trace system will be able to highlight where people have been infected, i.e. if several new infections all happened to be on flight ABC101 on 18 June, or if several new infections all shopped at M&S in Tunbridge Wells on 18/6/20, it's pretty obvious that's the common link.
Right, but the supermarkets don't seem bothered. If anything they are lapping up all the extra business. Do you really think BA will be flying at 15% capacity and telling people not to travel unless it's essential?
 

DannyMich2018

Member
Joined
19 Dec 2018
Messages
219
If questioned I'd simply state I was travelling in line with Government guidelines, but the chances of being questioned are very slim.
Yes very slim as guards at the minute wont leave the rear cab and go round train checking tickets. With a face covering donned I travelled the short hop from Hinckley to Nuneaton yesterday to go shopping (disappointed though no market). I'll go again when it fully opens.
 

Smidster

Member
Joined
23 Oct 2014
Messages
147
Surely the test and trace system will be able to highlight where people have been infected, i.e. if several new infections all happened to be on flight ABC101 on 18 June, or if several new infections all shopped at M&S in Tunbridge Wells on 18/6/20, it's pretty obvious that's the common link.
Under a manual Test and Trace system I am not sure that will work - They are asking people to provide details of people they have been in close contact with for a prolonged period of time. If you don't know the person you met then you can't track it

And of course we now won't have the app until the winter
 

island

Established Member
Joined
30 Dec 2010
Messages
10,746
Location
0036
The government must be clearer on why we are using face coverings on transport - if it's to reduce the risk of infection, why haven't we also introduced them in all indoor spaces? Why only transport? We need to stop pretending that social distancing on transport can work while reopening the economy - it can't. And if they can't justify masks being good enough to stop social distancing then I don't see how they're effective enough at all to make mandatory in the first place.
It is, in my opinion, to make people feel safer.
 

Huntergreed

Member
Joined
16 Jan 2016
Messages
876
Location
Dumfries
It is, in my opinion, to make people feel safer.
That is the key problem. That’s the reason why the government are being so slow and cautious over easing these overly restrictive measures.

As I’ve said previously, I think there needs to be a major shift in the focus on the messaging used. Right now the campaign is “control the virus, stay alert”, implying that there’s a big dangerous virus out there that can easily kill you if you don’t follow every measure to the letter. In my opinion we need to shift to a more economy centred approach, something along the lines of:

“Building a Greater Britain”

“Respect Personal Space - Get Britain Moving Again”

I think that, once 2m is reduced to 1m and tourism is reopened this is a change that needs to happen, otherwise we have a terrified population who are afraid to go out and do anything, and this combined with the worst recession since the 1700’s, that’s not a great position to be in. This includes in this particular case mask wearing mitigating the need for social distancing on public transport, otherwise we are moving to a discriminatory society based on whether you own a car or not, and making it much harder for us to reopen the economy than is needed at this point.

The governments of all four nations need to stop scaring the populations, stop playing politics, and start to get a grip on the severe economic crisis that’s resulted in this glorified house arrest.
 
Last edited:

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
48,372
Location
Yorkshire
Just a gentle reminder that we have other threads to discuss matters such as whether it's time to relax the 2m social distancing guidelines, and the wider discussion of mask wearing.

Here are some threads that may be of interest:

 

squizzler

Established Member
Joined
4 Jan 2017
Messages
1,234
Location
Jersey, Channel Islands
I wish I had thought about it earlier, but having visited my favourite transport blog "Pedestrian Observations", there are a number of good posts tackling the implications of Covid on various networks (the author is familiar with big cities on both sides of the Atlantic).

In a post entitled "Is the United States Giving Up on Public Transportation?" the author laments that the message is allowed to propagate, even by transit advocates that public transport is dangerous and then produces a picture I had not seen at this point that claims to show transmission of Covid inside a Chinese bus. The message is twofold: yes, they do have 2+3 seating in busses there - of which our 'index case' handily placed in a middle seat halfway down the bus - and that there are few places out of range inside a vehicle anyway, so 2m distancing is pointless.

In answer the original question, compulsory masks are not in this author's opinion a replacement for distancing, but the only game in town!

 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
53,307
Location
Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
In answer the original question, compulsory masks are not in this author's opinion a replacement for distancing, but the only game in town!
This would also, as an aside, suggest it's important to register who's on a given bus and ask everyone on board to self isolate if a case is discovered.

But also that we should, as you say, completely do away with social distancing on public transport but have masks mandatory.
 

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
48,372
Location
Yorkshire
In answer the original question, compulsory masks are not in this author's opinion a replacement for distancing, but the only game in town!
This is also interesting:

Between May 9 and June 3, 150 clusters of new coronavirus cases emerged in France, according to the country’s national public health body. Defined as three cases or more of Covid-19 linked by contact, these clusters occurred largely in the sort of places you might predict they would....

...What was striking however, was the number of clusters associated with public transit: There weren’t any. For almost a month, not a single Covid-19 cluster had emerged on France’s six metro systems, 26 tram and light rail networks or numerous urban bus routes....

... a combination of masking, limited exposure time and some exchange of air could make conditions safer than those in enclosed places where people are close together and unmasked for hours at a time.
 
Joined
23 Jan 2013
Messages
107
Location
Eccles Signal Box
Saturday was the first time I have left my town in three months, making a 30 minute train journey to sit in a friend's garden for a few hours then return home. All within guidelines I thought, and everyone on the train wearing face coverings and sitting on the available seats. However this was a Northern service, and every couple of stops the guard announced to the people already on the train that although government restrictions have been relaxed, this doesn't apply to public transport. Apart from keyworkers going to/from work, anyone else shouldn't be traveling. Presumably this is a script they all have to follow much like the "See it say it sorted".

The other observation is that wearing face coverings inevitably restricts the flow of oxygen and results in a feeling of lightheadedness after a while. On a 30 minute journey it was unpleasant enough, so I wouldn't like to travel on a journey for several hours. If the idea of making face covering mandatory for bus and coach drivers coincides with more drivers falling asleep at the wheel, will that make public transport safer?
 
Joined
23 Jan 2013
Messages
107
Location
Eccles Signal Box
Bus drivers don't have to wear them as they are behind a perspex screen. I'd figure coach operators will fit screens too. They have other benefits, e.g. protection against assault and theft of the takings.
I've seen some operators stating that drivers with be wearing masks on the list of 'Look what we are doing to improve passenger safety' statements.
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
23,625
Location
Yorks
Saturday was the first time I have left my town in three months, making a 30 minute train journey to sit in a friend's garden for a few hours then return home. All within guidelines I thought, and everyone on the train wearing face coverings and sitting on the available seats. However this was a Northern service, and every couple of stops the guard announced to the people already on the train that although government restrictions have been relaxed, this doesn't apply to public transport. Apart from keyworkers going to/from work, anyone else shouldn't be traveling. Presumably this is a script they all have to follow much like the "See it say it sorted".

The other observation is that wearing face coverings inevitably restricts the flow of oxygen and results in a feeling of lightheadedness after a while. On a 30 minute journey it was unpleasant enough, so I wouldn't like to travel on a journey for several hours. If the idea of making face covering mandatory for bus and coach drivers coincides with more drivers falling asleep at the wheel, will that make public transport safer?
He's either misinformed or lying.

Government guidelines enable you to use public transport to visit friends for outdoor activities if you have no alternative.
 

Top