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Government discusses campaign to encourage people to return to public transport

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Tezza1978

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On the Telegraph website tonight Government discusses campaign to encourage people to return to public transport (telegraph.co.uk)
Officials are in discussions with transport groups about advertising campaigns and Government advice to help bolster confidence in using public transport later this year.

It comes after business chiefs highlighted concerns that employees could seek to avoid the workplace due to worries about catching Covid on their commutes.

Adam Marshall, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, told The Telegraph that state help would be needed in "restoring confidence in the use of public transport" to encourage staff to return to "workplaces in our major cities" when restrictions ease.

Ahead of the Prime Minister setting out a roadmap out of lockdown on Monday, Mr Marshall said businesses had highlighted "workforce confidence issues around public transport"; in the months ahead.

He said such fears could be allayed by boosting public awareness about the stringent safety and security measures deployed by transport companies, including regular cleaning and reduced capacity...
I think a campaign such as this is sorely needed - after 12 months of the government trying to get people to believe public transport is uniquely dangerous, apart from a few months in the summer where the message was relaxed a bit before being reintroduced.

I'm a regular train user, I was back travelling all around the country by train for business and leisure from June last year once lockdown relaxed......however it remains to be seen how successful campaigns like this will be when people still have to wear face coverings. I grudgingly put up with them as I think there is a small benefit, but as cases decrease significantly and vaccines ramp up the argument for them becomes weaker...

We need to get public transport use at least partly back up to where it was before for both green reasons and economic reasons (of course peak usage won't go back to how it was before)
 
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Yew

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Get rid of lockdown, get rid of masks, and maybe a nice offer for leisure travel, and I'll try and get out as much as I can!
 

yorksrob

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Attractive offers for leisure travellers. (that means cost effective)

That's the "I and possibly my family want to visit aunty Gwen at the seaside. How much by rail ?" cohort.
 

Yew

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Maybe slightly off-topic, but is now the time to trial a national railcard, a la germany?
 

yorksrob

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Maybe slightly off-topic, but is now the time to trial a national railcard, a la germany?

Not off topic at all - I think it would be an excellent tool for increasing passenger usage (but I've been saying that for years).
 

ChrisC

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Some kind of extra discount for existing railcard users would be a nice gesture. It is now exactly a year since I last used my 3 Year Senior Railcard. No compensation was offered for railcard users after the first ‘stay at home’ lockdown but now we have had another ‘stay at home’ lockdown. I would be happy if they just offered something like a month or so of half price Off Peak travel for those who have now missed a year of railcard use.
 
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daodao

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Encouraging people to travel is not "green" and financial incentives will add to the public debt. However, restoring the freedom to travel is desirable once the pandemic is adequately controlled. Those with access to private transport will return to using public transport of their own accord, but only where it has benefits for them. Factors influencing such decisions will include:
  • service frequency at the time one wishes to travel
  • road congestion (but buses offer no advantage)
  • parking costs/difficulties at the destination
  • closeness of destination to public transport facility
  • whether the journey is multi-sector (private transport usually better) or just to a single destination and back
  • cost (so different when travelling alone than as a group of 2 or more)
  • speed (mostly applicable to longer distance journeys by rail/air to/from London)
  • length of journey (driving for very long trips is tiring)
  • journeys across water (taking a car on a ferry is relatively expensive and can be inconvenient; most major estuaries now have road bridges/tunnels though)
  • for long-distance journeys, whether there is a need to make local trips at the destination
All the above are more likely to benefit public transport in densely populated urban areas and for longer distance inter-city journeys (particularly to/from London). There is likely to be a further decline in bus usage and provision in rural and low density suburban areas. The viability and thus long-term survival of those rural and minor regional rail routes that escaped the Beeching railway modernisation/restructuring of the 1960s is questionable.
 
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duncanp

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I think first you have got to get rid of all restrictions and intimidating messaging, such as masks, police and railway officials hassling you about whether yuor journey is essential, no more "essential journeys only" or "welcome to all the key workers travelling with us today" announcements over the tannoy, and no more blasted "Look him in the eyes" adverts all over the station. <( <(

Then you need to make sure that any cuts in bus and train services over the past year are reversed, so that each railway line or bus route has a decent level of service comparable to what existed a year ago pre COVID (I can just about remember that)

Then finally you have to think about fares and ticketing. Think up some attractive offers which would entice people back on to the buses and trains, and make it financially beneficial for a family to take the train to the beach, countryside or local tourist attraction.
 

RomeoCharlie71

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Any examples? I can't see any.
Here's just a few:
I've been using public transport nearly everyday since this so called pandemic begun. I hardly ever wear a face mask and not all of my journeys have been essential. Yet here I am healthy as a butchers dog. I believe the fear inducing hysteria has set in and undoing psychological damage will take months if not years to undo. Plus if you have a nice job, with a nice house where you can carry out your job from home comfortably why would you want to go back to using public transport again? Also add to that the threats of being fined if you're not wearing a face mask along the ever increasing ticket prices and lackluster service at times the govt will find it challenging convincing people to use public transport again!
Stopping mask wearing would help.

Also, shut the windows and get the heating on, it’s winter you fools. Ok for a 5 minute journey, but for an hour commute it’s freezing - even wearing two jumpers and a winter coat!
Then drop the BS face covering restrictions you idiots
If our useless Government are just having this conversation now then what a waste of time will Boris's roadmap be! This dithering man will offer us nothing of any worth in his, long-awaited, speech on Monday, will he. He does Waffle without commitment to any dates and I, for one, will not be listening to it.
I am not afraid of a virus. I won’t get on a bus with everyone wearing a face rag.
End lockdown, end social distancing and end mask wearing.

Then we can go back to work/school/trips out and we will start using public transport again because it is more convenient than endless traffic jams for some journeys.

See, no need for government intervention to compensate for all the government intervention.
 

yorksrob

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Then you need to make sure that any cuts in bus and train services over the past year are reversed, so that each railway line or bus route has a decent level of service comparable to what existed a year ago pre COVID (I can just about remember that)

This is very important - and was something that Northern got very wrong last summer.
 

southern442

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I like travelling by train just for the hell of it - and I would welcome anything to suggest that 'non-essential' travel could be allowed again. I would be perfectly happy to use all the masks and sanitiser in the world to be able to go out on trains again.
 

Big Tim

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I like travelling by train just for the hell of it - and I would welcome anything to suggest that 'non-essential' travel could be allowed again. I would be perfectly happy to use all the masks and sanitiser in the world to be able to go out on trains again.

I'm also of this opinion.

It's five months since I last boarded a train for any travel whatsoever. I've had to cancel several trips for leisure in that time owing to "Tiers" and "Lockdowns" though. All refunded in full (very promptly) with RTV's - which are waiting to be used hopefully sometime very soon.

The day I can board a train, have a couple of cold beers and a bite to eat with friends at my destination will be a very happy one!
 

Baxenden Bank

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You know what, I'm not sure if I can be bothered going back. Certainly not until I am properly welcome - by which I mean get rid, completely and totally, of the negative messaging. Restore service levels - had they reintroduced a full rail service in May or July, rather than waiting until September, I might have got into the habit of travelling again last summer before the weather turned. They didn't and I haven't.

As one of the quoted comments says, shut the windows. Also make masks voluntary unless the train gets busy. Open the waiting rooms, open food outlets on stations, open toilets (not actually sure if they are or not, not having been near a station for 12 months).

I seem to have managed for the past 12 months. I have spent the money I saved (hotels, transport, meals out and beer) on other more substantive things for my house. I sit here now, typing into my new laptop, tethered to my new smartphone, under the brightness of my new daylight lamp, listening to my new box set of CD's. All funded thanks to Coronavirus savings.

The only public transport trip I foresee is the one to reach a vaccination centre.

There are a few local trips I may make when allowed - some grocery items from Morrisons or Sainsbury's which allow me to get a different local walk in at the same time.

Longer distance trips just for a day out, unlikely until everything is close to the old normal.

As to incentives, I can't see that they would be sufficiently generous to overcome the discouraging factors. 10%, even 25% off, doesn't really hit the spot given the industry attitude for the past 12 months. 50% might do the trick.
 

Bikeman78

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As one of the quoted comments says, shut the windows. Also make masks voluntary unless the train gets busy. Open the waiting rooms, open food outlets on stations, open toilets (not actually sure if they are or not, not having been near a station for 12 months).
Toilets are a lottery. The cramped facility on the down platform at Tottenham Hale has been open since last summer. Toilets at Cardiff Central have been shut since last March. Reading is about 50/50.
 

sheff1

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You know what, I'm not sure if I can be bothered going back. Certainly not until I am properly welcome - by which I mean get rid, completely and totally, of the negative messaging.
You will not be the only one. Why would people chose to go on a optional journey in an environment where they are constantly being bombarded with aggressive messages warning of 4-figure fines if they don't follow arbitrary rules if they are able to either make the journey using a private vehicle or spend their money on something else ?

Although the article is talking about travel for work, so maybe they are not interested in optional/leisure travel anyway.
 
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bengley

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You will not be the only one. Why would people chose to go on a optional journey in an environment where they are constantly being bombarded with aggressive messages warning of 4-figure fines if they don't follow arbitrary rules if they are able to either make the journey using a private vehicle or spend their money on something else ?
The private vehicle messaging isn't something which has been done since Lockdown 1 finished.
 

Bikeman78

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You will not be the only one. Why would people chose to go on a optional journey in an environment where they are constantly being bombarded with aggressive messages warning of 4-figure fines if they don't follow arbitrary rules if they are able to either make the journey using a private vehicle or spend their money on something else ?

Although the article is talking about travel for work, so maybe they are not interested in optional or leisure travel anyway.
The barrage of announcements was pretty relentless before Covid. For example, are they still instructing people to hold the handrails at Swindon? I've walked the streets at night time for 20-30 minutes rather than listen to that nonsense going off every few seconds.
 

londonteacher

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Certainly not until I am properly welcome - by which I mean get rid, completely and totally, of the negative messaging. Restore service levels - had they reintroduced a full rail service in May or July, rather than waiting until September, I might have got into the habit of travelling again last summer before the weather turned. They didn't and I haven't.

I've walked the streets at night time for 20-30 minutes rather than listen to that nonsense going off every few seconds.
This is quite ridiculous. What's the saying? Cut your nose to spite your face?

Train stations have had and are most likely going to continue with a similar level of announcements as they did before covid.

I for one will look forward to travelling again.
 

sheff1

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The barrage of announcements was pretty relentless before Covid. For example, are they still instructing people to hold the handrails at Swindon?
Agree there were too many announcements, which could usefully be canned, but they were not so aggressive - unless there were people at Swindon shouting at anyone not holding the handrails ? (I haven't been there in years).
 

yorkie

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Until the face covering rule is withdrawn, it won't be the same sort of experience to look forward to.

I think the article also muddled as it refers to "reduced capacity" and yet you would not run such a campaign until almost all adults have had a vaccination and by then you would not need to reduce capacity; not to mention the fact you'd not run such a campaign if capacity was reduced.
 

johntea

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There was a very good offering by LNER during late summer 2020, I can't remember the specific offer name or how long it lasted but it was £10 advance tickets in plentiful supply and could be booked very close to the intended date of travel

Would help encourage people to try public transport again as they would probably be willing to give it a go for the sake of a tenner
 

londonteacher

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Something like the Southeastern Supersaturday maybe renamed as Super Summer? That was a good deal, like the current Southern Daysave.
 

infobleep

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There was a very good offering by LNER during late summer 2020, I can't remember the specific offer name or how long it lasted but it was £10 advance tickets in plentiful supply and could be booked very close to the intended date of travel

Would help encourage people to try public transport again as they would probably be willing to give it a go for the sake of a tenner
I'd like to have taken that up but then we locked down in November so never got the chance.

I can see why the government want to encourage people back into the office but where I work they are keen to save money by not having us all in the office again and just travelling in occasionally.

If the government want this to be othereise then they need to fund it, as if the organisation I work for can save money by downsizing buildings, they will do so. They need to save money as income hasn't been as much and they have had to spend out money. I work in the public sector. So as I say, if the government wants a different outcome, they need to give more funding.

If the government don't want to fund or can't afford to fund, then what saves money will happen.

Working from home is also considered more environmentally friendly and giving a better work life balance. The latter depends on the person though as some thrive better in an office full of people than working alone at home.
 
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bramling

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On the Telegraph website tonight Government discusses campaign to encourage people to return to public transport (telegraph.co.uk)

I think a campaign such as this is sorely needed - after 12 months of the government trying to get people to believe public transport is uniquely dangerous, apart from a few months in the summer where the message was relaxed a bit before being reintroduced.

I'm a regular train user, I was back travelling all around the country by train for business and leisure from June last year once lockdown relaxed......however it remains to be seen how successful campaigns like this will be when people still have to wear face coverings. I grudgingly put up with them as I think there is a small benefit, but as cases decrease significantly and vaccines ramp up the argument for them becomes weaker...

We need to get public transport use at least partly back up to where it was before for both green reasons and economic reasons (of course peak usage won't go back to how it was before)

Normality is the key. No masks. No dirty looks. No threatening announcements. No special offers causing artificial spikes in demand. And no mass service cuts.

The notion that trains are a biohazard full of infectious people is largely the concoction of people who wish to find an excuse why they must continue working from home. There isn’t much the industry can do about this, instead the government needs to embark upon a “back to work” message when the time is right.
 

Mag_seven

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The notion that trains are a biohazard full of infectious people is largely the concoction of people who wish to find an excuse why they must continue working from home.

The trains are a biohazard full of infectious people except if they are heading to Bournemouth or Brighton on a warm day. ;)
 

Bikeman78

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This is quite ridiculous. What's the saying? Cut your nose to spite your face?

Train stations have had and are most likely going to continue with a similar level of announcements as they did before covid.

I for one will look forward to travelling again.
Not at all. At Swindon they have a system that tells grown adults to hold the handrail. It goes off every time someone approaches the top or bottom of the steps. It gets annoying very quickly in the waiting area at the top of the stairs. In warm weather I'll wait on the platform but in the cold I'll go for a walk to keep warm.
 
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