Long term social distancing: Impact on public life & public transport?

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Mag_seven

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OK everybody can I remind you that this thread is to discuss the long term social distancing impact on public life and public transport. I refer you to a couple of questions that were asked in the OP:

So how will long term physical & social distancing be implemented on public transport? I'm guessing that on trains and buses, it would have to be no more than 1 person in two airline seats, people only allowed to sit in every other row, only one person allowed around a table of four. In other words, capacity will be at least halved.

Will implementing long term distancing measures like this on public transport even be feasible?
So can we please stick to posts that are considering those questions please. A lot of the recent discussion has been about current issues such as the timing of lockdown easing etc which is clearly off topic and is generating a lot of ill feeling. Any further posts that are not addressing the questions above will be deleted and will risk having the entire thread closed.

Thank you for your co-operation.
 
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LAX54

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Went into Town today, as we needed to pay a visit to the Bank, which proved fruitless, due to the line waiting to get in, there were at least 10 waiting, this mixed in with the line for the shop next door but one ! Made me think, how on earth will, or would this work, when all the shops reopen ? looks like it will be a right mess !
 

Mogster

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I don't understand why you can't visit your parents inside the home whilst following social distancing but you can travel to the beach and on public transport and go to work and go to many shops and come in contact with so many people.
The vast majority of people are infected by CoV2 in their home by people they live with. Prolonged close contact is likely, contaminated surfaces are likely and the contamination can last for hours, there’s little air movement and UV light so the virus can hang in the air in droplets and remain viable. Inside is just bad... Homes are bad, offices are bad, restaurants are bad.

Outside you are much more likely to distance, airflow and UV disperse and inactivate the virus effectively, on surfaces UV inactivates the virus quickly so it’s unlikely to infect others.

I don’t think there’s any confirmed case of anyone being infected outside. I don’t think the government or their advisors have explained this well...
 

david1212

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....

There is no exclusive use... I know the line for TfL's services at the moment are "essential journeys only" (basically what you've said above) but this has to change once lockdown rules start being released.

....
At the moment for TfL Zone 1 in particular with only very limited number of non business or essential public service places open the non essential travel demand must be limited.

Once from the 15th June shops when can open followed at dates yet to be announced by other venues e.g. museums and buildings like Westminster Abbey if travel to them by bus and underground is not openly permitted, perhaps with a request to avoid peak hours, the numbers who will go are likely to be insufficient to make opening viable. That still leaves the individual decision about the risk of travelling.
 

Greenboy

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Went into Town today, as we needed to pay a visit to the Bank, which proved fruitless, due to the line waiting to get in, there were at least 10 waiting, this mixed in with the line for the shop next door but one ! Made me think, how on earth will, or would this work, when all the shops reopen ? looks like it will be a right mess !
It's the same everywhere and it looks that's how it's going to be for the foreseeable........ I noticed my local barbers being refitted to comply with social distancing and it's going to be a queue to get in most shops....... not too bad in the sunshine but it's not going to be much fun midwinter. Shopping online will become even more popular and it's likely to be the final nail in the coffin for many High Street shops that were struggling before covid.
 

Islineclear3_1

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A personal observation from my travels both to/from work and a couple of visits to the beach

People in my area of London seem to be more fearful of the virus than those who live on the coast

More people in my area of London are wearing face masks than those that live on the coast

From my travels on TfL buses, people are more likely to urge you to move away, go upstairs or stand than those that use buses on the coast
 
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Just a quick question, if I were to purchase advance train tickets for say, a couple of months time, but by then it turns out we are back in a lockdown, would I be able to get a refund, or would I not because of the current "do not travel" message?
 

Huntergreed

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Just a quick question, if I were to purchase advance train tickets for say, a couple of months time, but by then it turns out we are back in a lockdown, would I be able to get a refund, or would I not because of the current "do not travel" message?
My understanding is that tickets purchased before the lockdown are refundable as it wasn't expected to happen and is likely to significantly effect travel, whilst tickets purchased during the lockdown are non refundable as it's down to individual discretion on whether to travel or not, so I don't think they would be now that the lockdown is in force.
 

Bantamzen

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It's the same everywhere and it looks that's how it's going to be for the foreseeable........ I noticed my local barbers being refitted to comply with social distancing and it's going to be a queue to get in most shops....... not too bad in the sunshine but it's not going to be much fun midwinter. Shopping online will become even more popular and it's likely to be the final nail in the coffin for many High Street shops that were struggling before covid.
You are kidding yourself if you think social distancing is going to be tolerated right through into the winter. Once things start to open up there is going to be a lot more pressure on the government to start relaxing this temporary measure because much of this country's business cannot operate at the kind of capacities that distancing forces.

Of course I could be wrong, but an en mass move to online retail won't be like for like. It would result in mass unemployment, reduced tax revenue and increased pressure on services. So the solution is very obvious.
 

NorthOxonian

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A personal observation from my travels both to/from work and a couple of visits to the beach

People in my area of London seem to be more fearful of the virus than those who live on the coast

More people in my area of London are wearing face masks than those that live on the coast

From my travels on TfL buses, people are more likely to urge you to move away, go upstairs or stand than those that use buses on the coast
It is interesting how this varies by place. Here in Newcastle and Gateshead, people really aren't fearful in that way. They're being sensible, but a lot of the more extreme measures (like running into the road when someone comes towards you) are practically unknown here. Masks are another point - I probably saw a few hundred people out today, and I'd say about 10-15 were wearing masks, so on the order of 2%. All were either taxi drivers, NHS workers, or were (I assume) students from the Far East.
 

Greenboy

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You are kidding yourself if you think social distancing is going to be tolerated right through into the winter. Once things start to open up there is going to be a lot more pressure on the government to start relaxing this temporary measure because much of this country's business cannot operate at the kind of capacities that distancing forces.

Of course I could be wrong, but an en mass move to online retail won't be like for like. It would result in mass unemployment, reduced tax revenue and increased pressure on services. So the solution is very obvious.
It remains to be seen how long it lasts.......... anyway there has been a steady move towards online shopping for sometime now, covid has just speeded it up.
 

Bantamzen

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It remains to be seen how long it lasts.......... anyway there has been a steady move towards online shopping for sometime now, covid has just speeded it up.
Like I said, a mass move as a result of it will lead to widescale redundancies, not just on the high street but in the supply chain and logistics too. You see a higher rate of unemployment will spend less overall. So it cannot last long, otherwise the damage could be way more serious than the virus.
 

yorkie

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Just a quick question, if I were to purchase advance train tickets for say, a couple of months time, but by then it turns out we are back in a lockdown, would I be able to get a refund, or would I not because of the current "do not travel" message?
I can't see how that a nationwide lockdown could be re-imposed, however I think it is worth asking the question regarding if a local lockdown was imposed, what the impact of that would be. I think it would be worth asking the relevant train company and posting the answer in a new thread.
 

Mugby

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How will social distancing be implemented on public transport? With the best will in the world. the parties involved; the Government, the 'experts'. the Train Operators and the travelling public will just have to accept that strict social distancing on trains and even in station areas is simply not practical, not feasible, not possible.

My local operator, EMR is currently showing a message which says that capacity on their trains will need to be reduced by up to 90%. This is ludicrous beyond belief. If trains are to be reduced to 10% capacity, it's not worth sending them out each day.

When all shops begin to open again from 15 June, it doesn't take much imagination to guess what the outcome will be, people who have money to spend will want to go and buy the goods they have been prevented from buying for some three months previously, this is absolutely vital to restart the economy. The message will be absurd if it's 'Shoppers welcome but not by public transport'

Everyone knows the current situation, you queue up to get in supermarkets, there are marks on the ground telling you where to stand. Once you get inside, social distancing is quickly forgotten about, there isn't any, well hardly any, yet the highly questionable infection rate continues to decline.

As far as public transport is concerned, the present approach is unsustainable, TOCs operating services but telling people not to use them (because the Government is covering the cost?) The message needs to be changed pretty soon, into something more logical and realistic. At the moment it's nonsensical.
 

Andyh82

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I’m wondering when workers who can work from home, such as office workers who probably make up quite a significant amount of commuters (at least outside of London) will be encouraged or expected to start returning to the office, as that will be the main thing that will cause problems of capacity.

I’m not sure it’s in any of the governments phases at the moment. My employer seems to think it’ll be next month, although with only 25% allowed in at any time, plastic screens having to be purchased for desks and no meetings able to take place due to the meeting rooms being too small, it seems hardly worth bothering.
 

Andyh82

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When all shops begin to open again from 15 June, it doesn't take much imagination to guess what the outcome will be, people who have money to spend will want to go and buy the goods they have been prevented from buying for some three months previously, this is absolutely vital to restart the economy. The message will be absurd if it's 'Shoppers welcome but not by public transport'
I can see shops opening quickly being a tale of two halves

On the 15th we will obviously see news coverage of mile long queues trying to get into Primark etc

But give it a week, and all the people who would usually go shopping as a day out, browse loads of shops, grab a coffee at lunchtime etc, will find the whole procedure so much of a faff, having to queue to get into every shop, not being able to try on, one way systems etc, that most will probably give it a miss.
 

yorkie

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Let's try to stick to the topic title if we can :)
I’m wondering when workers who can work from home, such as office workers who probably make up quite a significant amount of commuters (at least outside of London) will be encouraged or expected to start returning to the office...
This really depends on what happens with infection rates, but my guess is that people will be encouraged to predominantly work from home for several more months yet. The main difference I'd like to see is for people who can predominantly work from home to have perhaps one or two days in the office each week (which can be on a rotating basis for each team) but that is probably best discussed elsewhere (there is a thread for people to discuss their preferences at https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/remote-working-preferences-in-the-longer-term.203448/ )

If a sensible balance can be struck, it would help reduce crowding on public transport, while not impacting too much on productivity.
 

Bantamzen

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How will social distancing be implemented on public transport? With the best will in the world. the parties involved; the Government, the 'experts'. the Train Operators and the travelling public will just have to accept that strict social distancing on trains and even in station areas is simply not practical, not feasible, not possible.

My local operator, EMR is currently showing a message which says that capacity on their trains will need to be reduced by up to 90%. This is ludicrous beyond belief. If trains are to be reduced to 10% capacity, it's not worth sending them out each day.

When all shops begin to open again from 15 June, it doesn't take much imagination to guess what the outcome will be, people who have money to spend will want to go and buy the goods they have been prevented from buying for some three months previously, this is absolutely vital to restart the economy. The message will be absurd if it's 'Shoppers welcome but not by public transport'

Everyone knows the current situation, you queue up to get in supermarkets, there are marks on the ground telling you where to stand. Once you get inside, social distancing is quickly forgotten about, there isn't any, well hardly any, yet the highly questionable infection rate continues to decline.

As far as public transport is concerned, the present approach is unsustainable, TOCs operating services but telling people not to use them (because the Government is covering the cost?) The message needs to be changed pretty soon, into something more logical and realistic. At the moment it's nonsensical.
Public transport and shops share one commonality with regards to distancing, that is to say that distancing is not practicable even in the short term. As businesses start to ramp back up (and it is worth noting that some have indicated that not all stores will open on the 15th June, but will be rolled out over the following weeks) and queues start to grow outside stores, the potential for overlap especially in city centres and shopping centres will grow, to the point where queueing at 2 metres separation will become impossible. Similarly as more people start to commute and shop again, public transport won't be able to be stuck at 10-25% of its capacity. So these are both factors that will force the distancing issue back into the open, quite literally in many cases.

A sensible approach would be to relax the 2m from the 15th to 1 metre "where possible, although we understand this might not always be so", allowing businesses and public transport greater flexibility to increase capacity and reduce queues and bottlenecks. Also losing the term "social distancing" would be a very good idea, it has become far too engrained into the collective psyche to the point that many seem to believe it is a semi-permanent feature, as demonstrated time and again on these forums. Instead the message needs to be dialled back to something like "Please respect each other's personal space", which will encourage people to keep a little distance wherever possible without the neurotic behaviours starting to be very visible at the moment.

But most of all, and sadly probably the least likely to happen, is to now have that open & frank discussion with the public. Instead of silly little catchphrases, the government now needs to explain the next stages of recovery, why we cannot hide behind our couches and why keeping the economy running is vital to the future health of every single person on these Isles.

This really depends on what happens with infection rates, but my guess is that people will be encouraged to predominantly work from home for several more months yet. The main difference I'd like to see is for people who can predominantly work from home to have perhaps one or two days in the office each week (which can be on a rotating basis for each team) but that is probably best discussed elsewhere (there is a thread for people to discuss their preferences at https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/remote-working-preferences-in-the-longer-term.203448/ )

If a sensible balance can be struck, it would help reduce crowding on public transport, while not impacting too much on productivity.
This is pretty much how I see myself working going forward, although having found myself regularly putting in 9-10 hour days at home, I am now considering going to a 4 day week with compressed hours, meaning that I might only travel into the office once a week in the longer run as the commute turns a 9-10 hour day into a 12-13 hour one. What will be needed though is the support of government to encourage and allow businesses to spread their working hours over greater periods, and support public transport operators in providing the capacity at the right times throughout the day. It'll will mean a long term, and potentially costly programme of subsidies & investment into the network, but will still be a fraction of the amount it will cost to keep us in forever-lockdown as some people seem to expect.
 

underbank

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I can see shops opening quickly being a tale of two halves

On the 15th we will obviously see news coverage of mile long queues trying to get into Primark etc

But give it a week, and all the people who would usually go shopping as a day out, browse loads of shops, grab a coffee at lunchtime etc, will find the whole procedure so much of a faff, having to queue to get into every shop, not being able to try on, one way systems etc, that most will probably give it a miss.
I agree. When our Homebase re-opened a couple of weeks ago, there were horrendous queues - for the first day! Ever since it's been pretty quiet. Those who are desperate to go will go on day 1. Most people will trickle in when they want something. But there's also millions of vulnerable/shielded who won't be going at all if shops, public transport etc are too busy for them - they won't take the risk. I think people are grossly underestimating the number of vulnerable who won't be going out randomly for unnecessary things like clothes shopping. The apocalyptic vision of crowded shopping centres etc are highly unlikely to happen except for the first few days of re-opening, and I suspect the novelty will soon wear off and they'll then be pretty quiet.
 

Islineclear3_1

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When all shops begin to open again from 15 June, it doesn't take much imagination to guess what the outcome will be, people who have money to spend will want to go and buy the goods they have been prevented from buying for some three months previously, this is absolutely vital to restart the economy. The message will be absurd if it's 'Shoppers welcome but not by public transport'
Ikea of Croydon opens today and people have been queuing since 05.30
 

Islineclear3_1

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Is there a considerable Asian population, out of interest? Mask wearing is very much the culture in Asian populations.
Few Asians but in the immediate area where I live, the area is predominately middle-class white with some BME; at one of the hospitals where I work, the area is mostly poor BME; another area where I work is mostly middle to upper-class whites whilst another area is made up of poorer whites, BME and Eastern Europeans

And where I'm moving house, the area is 90% white where no-one wears masks
 

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Was the same with Warrington yesterday. In normal times Ikea is a madhouse to be avoided at all costs, can only imagine how grim it is being in a queue since dawn.
I like IKEA and most of my furniture is from there. However, I can't see how anything from there could possibly be so urgent that I couldn't give it a couple of weeks to calm down first.
 

nlogax

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I like IKEA and most of my furniture is from there. However, I can't see how anything from there could possibly be so urgent that I couldn't give it a couple of weeks to calm down first.
Indeed there's nowt wrong with their stuff. From what I can tell they've been doing sterling work on the home delivery front these last couple of months but I guess the lure of those tin openers and Mason jars in the kitchen odds'n'sods section is just too much to resist for thousands of people.
 

yorksrob

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Indeed there's nowt wrong with their stuff. From what I can tell they've been doing sterling work on the home delivery front these last couple of months but I guess the lure of those tin openers and Mason jars in the kitchen odds'n'sods section is just too much to resist for thousands of people.
Isn't "shopping" as an activity about finding those things you never knew you needed !
 

johntea

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It looks as if Northern have decided to read the bus guidelines and apply the same to a train!

Unlike a bus I can’t see how they can particularly enforce the seating plan, not an issue at the moment as the services are still pretty quiet but that’ll probably change soon...
 

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CaptainHaddock

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I agree. When our Homebase re-opened a couple of weeks ago, there were horrendous queues - for the first day! Ever since it's been pretty quiet. Those who are desperate to go will go on day 1. Most people will trickle in when they want something. But there's also millions of vulnerable/shielded who won't be going at all if shops, public transport etc are too busy for them - they won't take the risk. I think people are grossly underestimating the number of vulnerable who won't be going out randomly for unnecessary things like clothes shopping. The apocalyptic vision of crowded shopping centres etc are highly unlikely to happen except for the first few days of re-opening, and I suspect the novelty will soon wear off and they'll then be pretty quiet.
You're probably right but I think another reason why the shops will be much quieter is that many people tend to do their shopping on the way home from work. If, as seems likely, a higher proportion of people will be working from home for the foreseeable future, you're not going to have many people travelling to and from work, so therefore less people out and about to shop spontaneously.
 

CaptainHaddock

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It looks as if Northern have decided to read the bus guidelines and apply the same to a train!

Unlike a bus I can’t see how they can particularly enforce the seating plan, not an issue at the moment as the services are still pretty quiet but that’ll probably change soon...
I already mentioned that a few pages back!


As you may have spotted though, the "out of use" signs are only made out of cheap lycra and are easily removed.... ;)
 
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