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Safely Reopening GM

Updated: 4pm Friday 17 July


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 now reopen, 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.

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

You can use public transport but please consider active travel options such as cycling and walking.
If you do need to use public transport, there are things you should do help keep yourself and other passengers safe:

  • You must wear a face covering when using the public transport network, including at transport hubs and interchanges, unless you are exempt. If you don’t, you may be unable to travel and you could be fined £100. Read our face coverings guidance.
  • 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 1m (3ft) apart from other passengers where possible, but you should continue to keep 2m(6ft) 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.

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 exempt. If you don’t, you may be unable to travel and you could be fined £200. Read our face coverings guidance.
  • 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.

I’m a taxi driver. What should I be doing during the pandemic?

You have a responsibility to take all possible precautions to keep you and your vehicle as safe and sanitised as possible to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

  • Clean your vehicle thoroughly each day using standard cleaning products.
  • Throughout your shift, regularly clean areas frequently touched by passengers, e.g. door handles, seat belts and buckles, and other hard surfaces.
  • Wash or sanitise your hands regularly during your shift. Ask your passengers to wear a face covering - some people may be unable to wear one due to a health condition or disability, so please be understanding in these cases.
  • Please make your passengers aware of your route, particularly when this may have changed due to road closures and other roadworks.

For further information, please contact your local licensing authority, who will be able to provide you with the latest advice on vehicle testing, licence renewals, sanitisation and more.

The information for each of Greater Manchester’s local authorities can be found at:

Travel advice for employers

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

  • consider how best to make sure your employees can work and travel safely – either working from home or in a COVID-secure workplace;
  • 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 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 or call 0161 237 4128.