NSW Government releases 'COVIDSafe Transport Plan'
The NSW Government has released its ‘COVIDSafe Transport Plan’ to help keep safe its transport network and ensure that physical distancing is maintained, particularly as restrictions ease and people travel more. “As we ease restrictions, we will see more activity and more people returning to work, school and university. Our number one priority remains keeping commuters safe so we are ensuring there are plenty of safe and efficient options to get people moving throughout our state during the pandemic,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
Andrew Constance, Minister for Transport and Roads, said the public transport system cannot run as usual for the foreseeable future, and that the current low patronage levels are already close to the safe capacity in the peak. “Everyone will need to maintain physical distancing during this pandemic. That means if you are not already using public transport during the peak times, please do not use public transport during peak periods,” Constance said.
The NSW Government’s transport plan includes avoiding peak travel; those who do not use public transport in the peak are urged not to use public transport in the peak, as services are already close to capacity, to allow for distancing at peak times. Off-peak times are between 10 am and 2 pm. The transport plan also includes deep cleaning and more hand sanitisers, with intense and ongoing cleaning to occur throughout the transport network, with a continued rollout of hand sanitiser at key transport hubs, including at high-demand stations.
The transport plan includes special event-style parking arrangements, to be in place at Moore Park, for people who are able to drive to work, with other locations to be rolled out soon. Additionally, car park operators will be offering special deals for all-day parking. There will also be more cycling and walking options, with the government working with councils to establish pop-up cycleways and enhance pedestrian access to allow more people to find alternative routes to work.
Distinctive green dots will also be used on trains, buses and ferries to show passengers the safest places to sit and stand. A ‘No dot, no spot’ will see passengers asked to wait for the next service, with school children given priority access. Customers will also be given real-time information through apps, social media and Transport Info to see which services have space available to maintain physical distancing. The government will also consider changes to increase services, such as more ferries, water taxis and private vehicle passenger services on the water. Cleaning has also increased, with an extra 132,000 hours of cleaning since March 2020.
“The network has never been cleaner; however, to maintain physical distancing you will continue to see fewer people on our network and we want people to continue to drive, cycle and walk whenever they can. We will be monitoring patronage and have staff at key locations across the metropolitan area to assist customers,” Constance said. Berejiklian urged the community to come together to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Our frontline transport staff have been doing an amazing job during this unprecedented time and I urge you to keep giving them your respect and understanding. Be prepared your trip will look different and please consider all options available before you start your journey,” Berejiklian said.
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