Coronavirus: Travel advice for the Midlands

Boris Johnson addressed the nation on Sunday (May 10) about coronavirus, where he provided the latest on lockdown measures across the country.

The Prime Minister encouraged more people to go to work but stated that people should avoid public transport where possible.

So how will the new lockdown guidelines affect the way people travel around the region?

  • Trains

Some train providers will be running a reduced train service for essential use only. Credit: PA Images.

As part of an industry-wide response, West Midlands Railway and East Midlands Railway are running a reduced service for essential journeys, for key workers such as NHS staff, emergency workers and carers.

Passengers are being urged to only use the train for essential journeys ahead of a new timetable coming into effect on May 18.

Those who do travel are urged to follow government advice to wear face coverings while travelling.

Other measures such as one-way systems at stations may be in operation.

Passengers are also being encouraged to avoid travelling at peak times and to buy their tickets in advance online.

The well-being of our customers and staff is our top priority which is why we are asking our passengers to act considerately and think very carefully if they really need to travel by train.

Jonny Wiseman, customer experience director for West Midlands Railway
  • Buses

National Express West Midlands has made changes to some bus timetables. Credit: PA Images.

As the Prime Minister stated in his address to the nation, people should avoid using public transport, such as buses, if at all possible.

National Express West Midlands has announced timetable changes to allow some buses to arrive more frequently so that fewer people have to wait, to improve social distancing measures.

They've also put extra services onto some hospital routes to make sure NHS workers can get in for their shifts.

Over the next few weeks, National Express West Midlands will be increasing the number of vehicles on each route, so there should be more space on each bus. We will continue to carefully monitor passenger numbers and adjust timetables accordingly.

Spokesperson for National Express West Midlands
  • Trams

Credit: PA Images.

Nottingham's tram network NET is now operating a Sunday timetable seven days a week.

A spokesperson for NET said “following the easing of some coronavirus restrictions this week, the advice to avoid travelling by public transport remains in place."

“This will ensure we can continue to maintain safe distancing on trams and at stops, protecting key workers such as NHS staff and carers who rely on the network to get to work."

The Department for Transport has also put measures in place on Nottingham's tram network - including the introduction of enhanced cleaning.

  • Cycling

Grant Shapps has funded a new scheme to encourage greener travel. Credit: PA Images.

Cycling is being encouraged as a form of travel during the lockdown.

There are also wider plans to motivate more people to use active methods of transport in the future.

To help relieve pressure on public transport, Grant Shapps the transport secretary, has announced funding for councils to create pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors.

Leicester City Council has already created two new temporary cycle tracks to make one of the UK's first 'pop-up' cycleways. The tracks run along a section of Saffron Lane and Aylestone Road, close to Leicester Royal Infirmary.

During this crisis, millions of people have discovered cycling - whether for exercise or as a means of safe, socially-distanced transport. While there is no change to the ‘stay at home’ message today, when the country does get back to work we need those people to stay on their bikes and be joined by many more.

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport
  • Cars

While people are being encouraged to go to work but avoid pubic transport, the roads still remained fairly quiet on Monday morning (May 11).

Footage of A38 Express Way in Birmingham on Monday:

As well as driving to work, the Prime Minister announced that you can also "drive to other destinations".

Highways England is urging people to check their tyres, fuel, oil and water before setting off.

You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own household.

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister

Read more: