Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today held a press conference where he announced that the government plans on investing over $344M in to the Public transport.
The transport secretary states that this aimed at ensuring that public transport is made available to all of British people that is road and railway.
Grant Shapps said the funding, divided into £254 million for buses and £29 million for trams and light rail, would increase both frequency and capacity of services while ensuring there is enough space to allow passengers to keep two metres apart.
The secretary was quick to note that this does not mean people should go back to using public transport ‘whenever they like’, pointing out that even a fully restored network will only be capable of carrying one-fifth of the pre-coronavirus capacity when social distancing is taken into account.
Few People Will still be able to use Public Transport Despite the Investment
“Remember, those who can should still work from home, those who can should still avoid all public transport, even a fully restored service will only be capable of carrying, at best one-fifth of the normal capacity when social distancing is taken into account.”
“So only if you need to travel and you can’t cycle or walk or drive, should you take a bus, tram or train. But please, avoid the rush hour.’ The money will be spent on making adjustments to vehicles, signage, deep cleaning and the provision of hand sanitiser.”
In addition, 3,400 people, including British Transport Police officers and Network Rail staff have been deployed at stations to make sure passengers follow the social distancing guidelines that have been put in place.
“From June 1 at the earliest, as we move to phase two of the unlock, we’ll start to deploy twice as many marshalls with the assistance of groups like the charity Volunteering Matters” said Mr. Shapp
The transport secretary added “The last time we did this, at the 2012 Olympics, it was a great success, and while these are altogether more serious times, if we show the same public spirit of concern for one another, it will go a long way towards helping transport and passengers cope.’ Mr Shapps said the government was working with the tech industry to come up with ideas to avoid congestion and stagger journeys during rush hour.
He said a personalised information service to inform people about disruption and crowding on services has been piloted over the past 12 months and will be rolled out soon. ‘We’re not just dealing with the immense challenges of the present, we’re building for the future too’ he said. Referring to the UK’s unbalanced economy, he said the government wanted to invest in transport to ‘improve long-standing national weaknesses’.
Earlier on in the year, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced £5 billion of new funding to overhaul bus and cycle links for every region outside London.
This includes introducing 4,000 new zero-emission buses to speed up progress on the government’s net zero ambitions.
Prime Minister Johnson said: “Local transport connections have a truly transformative role to play in levelling up infrastructure across the country.
“Our daily journeys for work or leisure are about so much more than just getting from A to B, they are the key to accessing skilled jobs and opportunities, boosting businesses and unlocking economic growth for towns, cities and regions across this country.”
Author: Moses Echodu
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