After the lockdown in England ends on Wednesday 2 December, the UK Government has proposed a week-long window from Thursday 3 to Wednesday 9 December to help university students safely travel home.
Great Western Railway (GWR) have issued advice for University students studying in Swansea Bay, and planning to take the train back home.
The rail operator continues to operate over 90% of its pre-Covid train timetable, but to allow for train travellers to be able to socially distance with ease, it is asking those intending to do so to plan ahead.
GWR is urging passengers to book tickets in advance and remember you must reserve a space before travelling.
Avoid busy trains by travelling during the week, and not on Friday evenings or at the weekend when demand is greater.
Save money by using railcards. They remain valid and can be used to reduce the cost of tickets.
Do not take more luggage than you can carry. There is space for luggage on board, however you can reduce unnecessary contact with others by not needing help to carry it.
Wash your hands regularly. Cover your face with a face mask when on board or in the station unless you are exempt. Pay attention to station posters and floor markings and remember to reserve a seat to help maintain social distancing advice.
GWR Head of Customer Experience Samyutha Bala said: “We have been working hard to make sure that people can be confident to travel safely, and that includes running as many trains and carriages as we can to make extra room, as well as enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures.
“We have also been in touch with the universities across our network to better understand the needs of those travelling.
“Please do, however, plan ahead, check before you travel and be considerate of others.”
GWR has been providing rail services throughout the pandemic and has worked to ensure that these are as safe as possible. This includes increased cleaning regimes and the use of a virucidal spray; extra staff at key stations to offer help and guidance; and processes in place to help customers maintain a safe distance where possible, such as restricting the number of reservations available.
To aid students’ return home safely, the rail operator has been in contact with all of the universities to ascertain student numbers; is monitoring ticket bookings; and will have ‘Journey Maker’ staff at key stations to help offer advice and support.
To help make sure everyone can travel safely, you must reserve a space before travelling on many of our trains. This helps us limit the number of people on these trains so it’s easier to socially distance. For reservable trains, you’ll automatically be allocated a space if one is available or you’ll be asked to try another service if not. Additional spaces on board are left for those with walk-up tickets, such as season tickets, or those who may have been disrupted.
(Lead image: Great Western Railway)