This useful FAQ covers many of the changes to the public transport system in Calderdale (and West Yorkshire) during the current Coronavirus pandemic.
What is the current status of public transport in West Yorkshire?
We are working closely with bus and rail operators to ensure the public transport network is as resilient as possible for those who need it and to address the significant capacity challenge created by the need to accommodate growing numbers of people while maintaining social distancing.
Public transport is available, but capacity is limited. We are asking people to strongly consider whether their journey is necessary and cycle or walk as an alternative. For more information on cycling and walking visit cyclecityconnect.co.uk
Do I need to wear a face covering?
Yes, in line with government guidelines, from the 15 June we are advising all public transport users to wear a face covering when travelling on buses and trains with exemptions for the very young and those with disabilities or breathing difficulties. Face coverings are not required to be worn in Bus or Rail Stations and Interchanges.
Are you supplying face masks?
No, it is up to people using public transport to provide their own face covering. The rules do not require the use of a mask. A scarf or a face covering made from materials found at home will be acceptable.
Who doesn’t have to wear a face covering?
Young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties are not expected to wear a face covering. We are awaiting further guidance on exemptions. Bus drivers behind screens may not be wearing a face covering.
How can I help?
We are asking passengers who have to travel to follow social distancing, to wash their hands before and after travel, to wear a face covering, carry hand sanitiser and to use contactless payments.
When is the best time for me to travel?
Buses in our towns and cities are running mostly as normal between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday and are currently busy throughout the day. A limited service is operating in the evening and at weekends. The capacity of buses is limited to meet social distancing and, if the bus becomes full, you may not be able to board. We are asking people to consider alternative ways of travelling, such as walking or cycling, or to allow more time for journeys.
Trains are operating at least hourly on most routes however space is limited to meet social distancing and you may find the train to be uncomfortably busy especially at peak times.
Is travel information up to date?
The latest travel information is available from wymetro.com and @MetroTravelNews on Twitter and via our real-time screens at bus stops. Changes in services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will mean printed information at bus stops is likely to be out of date which we are addressing but with 14,000 bus stops this will take some time.
Bus companies First and Transdev have included live information on how busy their buses are on their mobile apps.
I am experiencing symptoms of Covid-19. Can I travel?
No, in line with government guidelines you must self-isolate for at least 7 days. For the latest guidelines visit gov.uk
I live with someone who has symptom of Covid-19. Can I travel?
No, in line with government guidelines you must self-isolate for at least 14 days. For more information visit gov.uk
If there is limited capacity will my bus or train become full?
It is possible that more people travelling will mean buses and trains may become full more often as operators adhere to social distancing guidelines. If you do need to travel, we are suggesting you plan ahead and take extra time for your journey. Please be patient and consider other travel options if you have them.Transport operators are setting out their own plans for how they will accommodate people onto buses and trains and we are asking people to follow those instructions.
Why is my bus not stopping to pick up passengers?
Drivers will be monitoring the number of people travelling on the bus and once the bus is full drivers will be unable to pick passengers up until someone gets off the vehicle.
If I am a wheelchair user, will I still be able to get on the bus with social distancing in place?
Operators are asking passengers to consider the travel needs of vulnerable passengers and those in a wheelchair and will do all they can to prioritise access to the wheelchair space for a wheelchair user. For more information please visit the operator websites.
Can I sit next to a member of my household on a bus or train?
Yes, in line with government guidelines, you only need to social distance from someone outside your household including on a bus or train.
How safe are buses?
Operators have procedures in place to help maintain social-distancing and we are asking people to observe those rules for their own safety and that of other passengers and staff. Transport operators have adopted cleaning regimes in line with Government guidelines.
How safe are Bus Stations/shelters?
We are following government guidelines and are carrying out additional cleaning at our bus stations and interchanges as well as modifications to support social distancing. Additional signage is being provided across the bus network to advise customers of the precautions to take.
How are you safeguarding transport staff?
The safety of our staff is paramount and we are closely following the advice from Public Health England. We have increased the cleaning of contact surfaces in line with guidelines and our staff are following social-distancing guidelines. Face masks are available for staff who would like to use them but this is voluntary.
Concessionary Travel Passes
We are strongly urging people to consider whether their journey is necessary before using public transport. Senior, Blind or Disabled pass holders who do need to travel may use concessionary passes after 0930 Monday to Friday. Senior, Blind or Disabled Travel Passes along with young people’s Under 16 or 16-18 MCards can be ordered online at wymetro.com to allow time for people to renew their pass, users may continue to use an expired pass until 28 June 2020.
What is the position for Corporate and Annual MCard holders?
We are advising customers to hold on to their existing Annual MCards if they have been forced to stop travelling following the Government’s instructions for people to stay at home and only use public transport if their journey is essential.
MCard customers who have an annual ticket will be able to extend the duration of the product so that any unused value can be used once things return to normal. For more information visit m-card.co.uk
What about school buses?
Some school buses are operating to schools which are open, parents are requested to contact their school with regards to the re-introduction of school transport. For more information visit wymetro.com/schools/covid-19-information/
Are AccessBus services running?
AccessBus services were suspended in line with Government guidelines to stop unnecessary travel and as community services became available to help meet customers’ shopping needs. AccessBus customers are being contacted directly to ensure they are aware of the services available. AccessBus customer service will remain available to help during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Why have Temple Green and Elland Road Park-and-Rides closed?
During the initial phase of the pandemic, demand for park-and-ride services declined to the point it was unsustainable to keep the park-and-rides open. Temple Green is now being used for COVID-19 testing. The restart of park-and-ride services will commence at a later stage of lockdown relaxation.
Will cash still be accepted on buses?
Operators are continuing to accept cash on buses; however, they are advising customers to buy tickets in advance or pay contactless.
I’m a key worker and revised timetables and reduced capacity buses aren’t meeting my needs?
Operators are continuing to add more journeys and are monitoring the current situation. Please visit the operator websites to provide feedback on the current services.