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Social distancing rule relaxed on rail network

By Calum MacLeod

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Physical distancing has been halved to one metre, but face coverings remain mandatory on trains and at stations.
Physical distancing has been halved to one metre, but face coverings remain mandatory on trains and at stations.

PHYSICAL distancing on trains and at stations will reduce to a minimum of one metre from Monday.

ScotRail and Network Rail will introduce the new measure following the publication of the Scottish Government’s updated guidance earlier this month.

The new rule follows the introduction of a number of steps to keep staff and passengers safe over recent weeks, including the provision of hand sanitiser and face masks at the network's busiest stations, new platform markings and guidance at ticket vending machines.

Face coverings are mandatory at stations and on trains.

People are urged to consider alternative travel options where possible, including walking and cycling, to free up space for those who have no choice but to travel by train.

For those who do travel on ScotRail services, the operator is asking customers to continue to follow its five rules for safer travel and take personal responsibility.

These are:

1. Do not travel if you feel unwell or have a temperature.

2. Avoid the main commuting times (7am – 9am and 4pm – 6.30pm) wherever possible. The earliest and latest trains serve key workers, such as NHS and care home staff.

3. If you think it is not safe to board a train, wait for another service.

4. Wear a face mask or covering and, where possible, maintain physical distancing.

5. Be patient. You might not be able to board your first choice of train, as physical distancing means most seats need to be left empty.

Train capacity remains significantly reduced to help support physical distancing. Customers are also reminded to buy in advance of travel via the ScotRail app, website, or station facilities to ensure waiting times are reduced and physical distancing supported. Some stations facilities will remain unavailable to allow for physical distancing. All customers must hold a valid ticket before boarding a train.

David Simpson, ScotRail operations director, said: “We’ve worked closely with staff, trade union colleagues, and the government to satisfy ourselves that we have sufficient safety measures in place to move to a minimum of one metre physical distancing on trains and at stations.

“The provision of face masks and hand sanitisers at our busiest stations are just some of the measures we introduced in recent weeks to keep staff and customers safe.

“But we need everybody to continue taking personal responsibility for their travel choices, because physical distancing can’t be guaranteed. Customers who do travel with ScotRail should follow our five rules for safer travel, including the wearing of a face covering on trains and at stations."

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