Suffolk residents are encouraged to consider active travel as they return to school and the workplace
Posted: Wed, 02 Sep 2020 17:23
Families and commuters across Suffolk are being encouraged to consider the different transport options available to them as pupils and employees return to school and the workplace this month.
September will be for many the first time they have been allowed back to school or their workplace after lockdown was announced at the end of March.
Following government guidance, Suffolk County Council is seeking to avoid overcrowding the county's transport network to help control coronavirus and keep everyone safe, with a long-term aim to embed active travel as a habit and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.
There are many things residents can do when travelling to reduce the risk of coronavirus and to help make sure space is available for those who really need it on the transport network:
- Agile working
Where possible, see if flexible working arrangements can be introduced or continued at your work to limit journeys being made on the transport network.
- Plan ahead
Make sure you plan your journey. How long will it take and familiarise yourself with the route. School pupils that usually go on a public bus should check if their bus is now a dedicated school service so they know what to expect and don't miss it.
- Stagger Start and finish times
Many schools are now staggering their start and finish times. In the workplace are you and your colleagues able to do the same? Changing the times you travel, even by 10 or 20 minutes will help keep everyone moving and keep everyone safe.
- Walk, cycle or scoot where you can for shorter journeys
Many journeys are less than 3 miles and can be safe to walk, cycle or scoot.
Also, with new cycle paths, pedestrianised zones and reduced speed limits across towns in Suffolk, as well as FREE cycle sessions and bike repair vouchers available, there's never been a better time to swap.
- Use public transport for longer journeys
If you aren't able to walk, cycle or scoot, you can use public transport. Perhaps you can even combine the two. Can you couple walking, cycling or scooting with public transport?
You should wear a face covering for the entirety of your journey on public transport if over 11 years old and are not exempt, wash or sanitise your hands regularly and social distance where possible.
- If you drive or car share
If you are car-sharing with someone outside of your support bubble or family, you should share with the same people each time, open the windows for ventilation and wear a face covering if you are over 11 years old and are not exempt. Also you should try and ensure some seats are free to social distance.
It is being recommended if you are driving, that you park a 5 or 10 minute walk away to help keep your school or workplace clear of traffic.
- Keep your distance
You should maintain a 2 metre distance where possible, because the risk of transmission is small at this distance. If this is not possible you must take suitable precautions.
- Avoid busy times and busy routes
Try and avoid the busiest routes and the busiest times of day to travel such as school start and finish times and rush hours.
Cllr Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council's Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs, said:
"There is no one size that fits all approach to transport and families and commuters will have a variety of circumstances to consider as we return to school and the workplace in unfamiliar circumstances.
"In our towns, many people may be able to walk, cycle or scoot to school, sixth form, college or their workplace. Where this is not possible, pupils and commuters could consider the use of public transport and even combine the two.
"I understand active travel and public transport are not possible options for everyone all of the time, other things do get in the way, but even if people make the change a couple of days a week, it will make a big difference."
Suffolk County Council has recently secured £376,000 of funding from the Department of Transport's Emergency Active Travel Fund to help improve walking and cycling routes across Suffolk to support the country as it emerges from the coronavirus crisis.
For the latest information and advice on travelling during the coronavirus as well as how Suffolk County Council is helping to encourage more people to walk and cycle visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/adviceontravel