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Safely Reopening GM

Updated: 1pm Thursday 1 July

20-0424-MPU

As Greater Manchester recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, more people are returning to work and using shops and services. And with pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues reopening from Saturday 4 July, it's as important as ever that everyone feels confident and safe when they travel.

We all need to play our part to reopen Greater Manchester safely, and we’re giving you the information and options you need to make smart and safe choices, so you can protect yourself and others around you.

Safely Reopening GM focuses on three areas:

  • Safe workplaces
  • Safe travel to and from work
  • Safe public places

We’re working closely with local councils, businesses, transport operators and other organisations to make sure everyone who needs to travel can do so with confidence.

If you can’t work from home and have to travel to work, or are taking a trip out during the day or in the evening, first and most importantly you should think about how and when you travel.


Safe cycling and walking

One third of all journeys under 1km in Greater Manchester are made by car – that’s about a five-minute bike ride or a 10-minute walk.

As part of Greater Manchester’s phased reopening, walk or cycle if you can, as this will keep public transport for the people who need it most.

We’re working with Greater Manchester’s councils, as part of a £21.5million funding bid, on plans for 200km of protected cycle lanes, traffic calming measures, an expansion of our bike loan scheme and relaunching cycle training to give people the confidence and skills to commute by bike.


Safe driving

Please cycle or walk if possible but, if you can’t, driving alone is a safe way to maintain social distancing on your commute or to visit shops and other amenities as Greater Manchester reopens.

If you drive to work, plan your journey, leave extra time and avoid the morning and afternoon peak travel hours if you can. Car parks may be busier than usual, particularly in Manchester city centre.

You may also see changes in road layouts due to the temporary cycling and walking measures introduced by local councils, as well as ongoing improvements to the road network.

There are likely to be more people travelling on foot and by bike than before the pandemic, particularly less experienced cyclists, so please take extra care and be considerate of everyone on the roads.

Driving safely reduces pressure on our emergency services and the NHS.


Safe public transport

Please consider all other travel options before public transport, including cycling and walking. If you do need to use public transport, there are things you should do help keep yourself and other passengers safe:

  • On public transport, you must wear a face covering, unless you are exempt. Exemptions include children under the age of 11 and anyone with a disability or condition which means they are unable to wear one.
  • Keep your distance from other passengers, clean your hands frequently and use contactless payment. If possible, carry a hand sanitiser with you.
  • You should stay 2m (6ft) apart from other passengers where possible. From Saturday 4 July, the guidance is due to change to ‘1m (3ft) plus’, but you should continue to keep 2m apart from others where you can.
  • Sit or stand behind or to the side of other passengers, rather than face-to-face, where possible.
  • Consider using quieter stops or stations and walking for more of your journey, for example getting off a stop early if it's less busy.
  • Due to social distancing there will be limited space on transport services and you may have to wait - please plan ahead, avoid the busiest times and routes if possible and be patient when travelling.

To help, we’ve already put measures in place and further changes are being introduced:

  • We’ve installed hand sanitiser dispensers at bus stations and interchanges. We're also assessing the roll-out to key Metrolink stops. Bus operators have also increased cleaning regimes on buses, including in-service cleaning.
  • We have a rigorous anti-viral cleaning regime in place. Trams are cleaned nightly, litter collections take place throughout the day, and there is increased cleaning at bus stations and interchanges.
  • We’ve introduced measures to support social distancing - including ground stickers, platform signage and PA announcements across the transport network. Bus operators have on-bus signage and have ‘closed off’ seating measures to help support social distancing.
  • We’re also increasing Metrolink services to a 10-minute frequency across the network from Monday 22 June.
  • Bus services were also significantly increased from Monday 15 June. Please check the coronavirus page or the operator’s website for full timetable details.
  • We’ve introduced discounts to support flexible working. The new Clipper tram ticket will help people travelling less often. Metrolink passengers can also use the contactless early bird bonus to save money when travelling before 7am on weekdays

If you have to use public transport, please plan ahead, avoid the peaks and be patient when travelling as space will be limited on services due to social distancing.

For travel advice, journey planning and information about coronavirus and transport, visit the coronavirus webpage or call 0161 244 1000.


Safe taxis and private hire

Taxis and private hire services are an important part of our transport network. In particular, they can support our pub, bar and restaurant sector, and wider leisure industry, as they reopen. They can help people get to and from where they need to while protecting themselves and others by following guidance to use them safely.

If you use a taxi or private hire vehicle, please:

  • Wear a face covering unless you are unable to, or drivers may refuse to carry you.
  • Keep a safe distance from others during your journey, for example at taxi ranks.
  • Sit as far away from the driver and other passengers as you can, always using the back seats, and open the vehicle window to help ventilation.
  • Clean your hands regularly and use contactless payment if possible, or find out if you can pay online in advance.
  • Follow any additional guidance from the driver and safety measures put in place by the taxi or private hire operator.

Please support locally licensed drivers by making sure your driver and vehicle are licensed by one of Greater Manchester’s 10 councils, preferably your local council, when booking a private hire. If in doubt, ask the operator.


Travel advice for employers

To help keep your employees safe during this time we’re advising businesses to:

  • promote working from home where available;
  • stagger shift times where possible;
  • encourage employees to walk or cycle to work; and
  • ask staff using public transport to plan their journeys and check their transport is running, particularly for the trip home if it's late in the evening.

For more information on the travel support we offer businesses, visit our Travel choices for business page for a range of resources to see how we can work together. Or contact sustainable.journeys@tfgm.com to see how we can work together.

The Growth Company’s Business Growth Hub can also provide specialist support, including help with the latest government guidance. Contact BGH@growthco.uk or call 0161 237 4128.