During the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve likely been doing your best to avoid travelling via public transport. Rightfully so, one would assume it’s a death trap. We sent UTCR.Live executive producer Benji to report back on how safe a variety of transport methods are. We’ll look through busses, trains and rideshares.
Throughout this article, I’ll be referring to transport in & around Reading.
Travelling on Reading Busses can always be a hit or miss experience. Everything from drivers, passengers and even the bus itself can make the experience a great or an awful one. This being said, precautions have been put in place on Reading Busses. There’s hand sanitiser on entry to the bus, markers on every other seat to encourage social distancing between rows and of course, all passengers and drivers should be wearing face masks.
Even with all of these precautions in place, government guidelines suggest that people should not be challenged when boarding for a face mask and the only member of staff on the bus is the driver. Due to this, it is entirely up to the public to decide whether or not they will actually follow the guidelines. Unfortunately, on both of the occasions that I have travelled, there have been numerous groups blatantly ignoring the regulations.
I travelled between Bracknell & Reading on SWR and between Reading & Paddington on GWR. From my experience, trains have changed very little. There’s no social distancing markers in place, no enforcement on board longer routes and the only real difference I could see is the reduced timetable which doesn’t even seem to be that reduced.
Overall, the passenger experience when travelling by train has not significantly changed yet due to COVID 19.
Ridesharing apps like Uber are notorious for doing as little as possible to protect their drivers. This pandemic is no different. Uber has demanded that all drivers wear face masks and suggested that they clean their cars more often. To our knowledge, Uber drivers have not been provided with masks by Uber and rates have not increased to compensate drivers for the increased cost of purchasing masks.
Overall, most methods of transport are significantly quieter and as such, feel much safer.