Information and advice from the Strategic Transport Team at South Tyneside Council
Since April, South Tyneside Council's focus with our partners has been to provide a safe, clean and reliable transport network for those who need it most.
- Social distancing measures are in place across all public transport services and at stops and stations
- Face coverings must be worn by everyone, unless exempt under Government guidelines
- We are encouraging the use of our contactless and mobile ticketing solutions to reduce the need to handle cash
- We are asking everyone to wash or sanitise their hands before and after each journey
- Service levels have increased to meet the expected demand with operators having extensive plans in place to deal with any social distancing issues
- We are encouraging everyone to plan ahead and we are providing links and tools for people to check how busy their journey may be. This will help to avoid the busiest times
- Advice on how to take up walking and cycling has been issued to help people make more active journeys
- Cycling improvement measures are being installed across the region to improve the journeys of those who choose to cycle
Helping each other
While the public transport network is open and safe, it is not able to carry as many people as it did before during peak periods.
We need your help to:
- Ask employees to plan ahead and check their journeys before they travel
- Encourage and support those walking and cycling
- Introduce or continue, where possible, flexible working arrangements to stagger peak demand or limit journeys being made on the network
We can support you with a range of information and resources using the skills and knowledge of our Strategic Transport Team to help support your employees getting to and from work. Email: email@example.com
Public transport is operating, however we are advising people to be prepared for a very different travel experience when they return to work or education.
Social distancing measures means capacity on public transport is reduced and there may not be room for everyone who usually travelled on public transport services before. Transport operators are providing information online when their services are expected to be busy.
The latest advice and links to each operator can be found on the Nexus website: www.nexus.org.uk
- Please wear a face covering unless exempt
- Keep space between yourself and others
- Carry hand sanitiser and wash your hands before and after travelling
- Allow others to get off before getting on
- Pay for your ticket in advance or use contactless where possible
- Avoid peak times and if you're making shorter trips, try cycling or walking
- Working from home and flexible working hours
Staggered start times
We know that public transport will be busier in September as students return to schools, colleges and universities. Where possible, we are asking businesses to consider staggered start times. Allowing staff to change the time they travel, even by 10 or 20 minutes will help keep everyone moving and keep everyone safe.
Working from home and flexible working hours
As capacity is reduced on our public transport network, we are asking businesses to be flexible in the way they work to reduce the number of people travelling at peak times and encourage active travel when it is potentially quieter on the roads.
Encouraging cycling and walking
More people cycling and walking will see improvements to local air quality, improved physical and mental health, greener, more resilient communities and happier places to live, work and play.
During the lockdown people have been cycling more for leisure and in some places, there has been a 50% rise in the number of people using bicycles for exercise or travel. Now that people across the country are getting back to work, they are starting to think about the journeys they need to make.
Here are some ideas to encourage your employees to cycle to work:
Cycle to Work Scheme
Cycle to Work scheme is a UK Government tax exemption initiative introduced in the Finance Act 1999, to promote healthier journeys to work and to reduce environmental pollution. It allows employers to loan cycles and cyclists' safety equipment to employees as a taxfree benefit with the option to buy outright at the end of the loan term. This is a great way to encourage a healthier lifestyle and many employers already promote this scheme to their staff. The details of the scheme are available on www.gov.uk
Cycle Parking Grants for Businesses
Cycle parking for organisations supported by Park That Bike is helping businesses across the South Tyneside by providing them with free cycle parking. The scheme is aimed at encouraging more cycling and people to use their bikes to get around by offering free bike racks to businesses, health establishments and community organisations.
With so many people now taking up or renewing their enthusiasm for cycling, this is a great opportunity for businesses to play their part in supporting staff who wish to cycle to work now and encouraging these shorter trips to be made by bicycle rather than car.
More information and applications can be found via the following link: www.parkthatbike.info
Emergency Active Travel Fund
The Government's Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF) aims to help encourage more active travel through the installation of pop-up cycle lanes, pavement widening and much more. These new measures will help employees travel safely and securely and get workers and businesses back up and running, supporting a green recovery.
South Tyneside is currently progressing several previously consulted routes. These are in the process of being delivered. It is expected more will follow during the life of the Councils Local Cycling and Walking Investment Plan (LCWIP).
Cycle Journey Planning
Cycling and walking journey planners are useful tools to find the best route to take, whether it is the most direct or a quieter, more crosscountry route. Cycling advice for the North East can be found on the following link: www.gosmarter.co.uk/getting-to-work/cycling
Paper based cycle maps can also be requested and delivered free of charge. Please contact the Strategic Transport Team to request one for South Tyneside.
Driving to work
Even journeys by car will now be different. We encourage everyone to check before they travel for traffic levels and road closures.
Changes to road layouts, especially in town centres, may mean staff cannot access key car parks, or will need to take a different route. If more people choose to drive, they may need to leave extra time for journeys as congestion will increase. Staff should plan and check their journey every day and use alternative routes if suggested.
If you are driving, then you should be aware that there are now more cyclists and pedestrians sharing the road. To keep everyone safe, if you are passing a cyclist or a pedestrian where there's no pavement, always give them space - at least 1.5 metres.
People should only car share with those in their household or social bubble.
If this is not possible, please ensure everyone in the vehicle is wearing a face covering and open the windows. Also ensure that you wash or sanitise your hands before and after each journey.
Here to help
If you need any further support or information on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact the Strategic Transport Team who will be happy to help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Shop Safe Campaign
We are making public transport as safe as possible for passengers so people can return to the Borough's towns and district centres.
However, there is more to do to encourage people to go back to their favourite restaurants, bars and shops, and to return footfall to prepandemic levels. The Council has and will continue to promote its 'Shop Safe' campaign. This indicates that South Tyneside remains open for business, and providing we continue to follow the Government's public health advice, we can all shop and eat out safely. Please keep an eye out for updates on social media and the Council website.