Advice on how to travel safely

Summary of latest changes

3 August 2020

  • School guidance added

10 July 2020

  • Guidance on car sharing added

6 July 2020

  • Updates on 5 mile guidance and ferry travel

22 June 2020

  • Face coverings – clarification on exemption evidence and addition of a link to exemption legislation

19 June 2020

  • Face coverings – Following the First Minister's announcement that face coverings will be mandatory on public transport from 22 June 2020,  the guidance has been updated in the “steps to follow” and in the relevant sections for each transport mode.
  • How to make a face covering - link provided
  • Aviation guidance – The UK Government published its guidance on 11 June 2020, a link has been provided to the passenger guidance.
  • Contact details – An e-mail address has been provided for the submission of comments on this guidance.

Please follow these steps for your own safety and the safety of others

  • Stay at home if you or anyone in your household is experiencing coronavirus symptoms (new continuous dry cough, fever or the loss of or a change in your sense of smell or taste) or if you are self-isolating
  • Familiarise yourself with Scottish Government test and protect guidance
  • Stay local as much as possible for goods, services and activities and continue to work from home where you can
  • Consider walking, wheeling or cycling, if you can, to reduce pressure on the road network and on public transport where capacity will be limited
  • Plan your journey and leave additional time due to temporary restrictions or changes to previous timetables or schedules
  • Pay for your journey online, use smart ticketing, the operator’s mobile app, or contactless payment, if you can, to reduce cash handling
  • Comply with any signage or instructions on public transport or from transport staff as the safety measures in place are for everyone’s benefit
  • When travelling on public transport or in a taxi or private hire vehicle or when you are in a bus or railway station, enclosed ferry terminal or airport you must wear a face covering
  • Travel to islands is permitted, as long as it is for the purposes allowed in the relevant phase of the Scottish Government route map and in line with all other guidance
  • Be considerate of the impact of restrictions on the needs of fellow passengers who may have impairments, disabilities or mobility issues
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser before and after every transport journey.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during these difficult times.

Introduction

This guidance contains advice on how to be safe when walking, wheeling (wheeling refers to travelling by wheelchair), cycling, or travelling in private vehicles or on public transport during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Scotland.

This guidance came into effect immediately on 26 May 2020 and will be reviewed regularly and, if necessary, updated on the Transport Scotland website.

The Scottish Government has set out a route map which provides the framework for decision making in taking Scotland through and out of the crisis. It gives an indication of the order in which the government will carefully and gradually seek to change current restrictions. You should therefore review this guidance regularly to see how the changes to restrictions will affect your travel.

There is no restriction on the distances you can travel within Scotland provided that you are acting in line with all other guidance which supports the route map. Guidance is in place to support your safety - and the safety of others - at all times. If you are travelling elsewhere in the UK you should familiarise yourself with the transport guidance of the UK Government or the devolved governments of Wales and Northern Ireland.

Keep yourself and others safe by following this advice

Before you make any travel plans you should consider the following two questions:

1. Should I travel?

You should stay at home if you:

  • are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms or
  • are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms or sharing a household with somebody with symptoms

Read more information and guidance from Health Protection Scotland.

2. Is my journey necessary?

Before you travel, you should consider if your journey is necessary. This will ensure the transport network can keep running and allows people who need to make essential journeys to travel.

In order to ease demand on the transport network, we encourage you to access goods, services and activities within your local area as much as possible by walking, wheeling or cycling if you can.  Please plan ahead, timing your journey to avoid busy times and please think about your need to use public transport while capacity is constrained.

If the answers to both the questions above are Yes then we ask you consider what form of transport you will use for your journey.

In order to reduce pressure on the road network and the public transport system we would like you to consider walking, wheeling or cycling for all or part of your journey, if you can. We encourage these forms of active travel as a first choice, as they are good for health, the environment and relieve pressure on the transport network.


Walking, wheeling and cycling

Our advice on staying within 5 miles from your home has now changed, however we encourage you to stay within your local area, for exercise or other leisure activities if you can.

If you decide to walk or cycle, information from your local authority or Sustrans (the national charity for walking and cycling) can help you plan your journey, including maps showing dedicated paths and routes. If cycling, you should check any changes to routes in case of any temporary traffic or road restrictions.

Active travel and accessibility organisations have come together to provide information and best practice on walking and cycling during COVID-19. This information has also been approved by Public Health Scotland and Transport Scotland and is available on the Sustrans Scotland webpage.

When walking, wheeling or cycling you should follow the Highway Code to keep everyone safe.  In particular:

  • only pedestrians - including people using wheelchairs and mobility scooters - should use the pavement.
  • cyclists should only cycle on designated cycle lanes,  shared paths and roads.
  • on shared, non-segregated paths, all users should be considerate of each other. Cyclists should use a bell to warn of their presence but be mindful that a bell may not be sufficient warning to pedestrians with hearing, visual or mobility impairments.

When walking or wheeling you must maintain physical distancing and only walk or wheel alone or with members of your household.

You should wash or sanitise your hands before and after walking or wheeling in case you inadvertently touch any hard surfaces or other pedestrians or persons wheeling.  We also recommend that you clean your wheelchair in case it is touched by another person when wheeling.

When cycling you should maintain physical distancing. You should wash or sanitise your hands before and after cycling. We also recommend that you wash your cycle in case it is touched by another person either whilst cycling or at the destination of your journey.

If you are unable to walk or cycle in full or in part on your journey the next sections provide advice on the use of private and public transport.


Bus, Rail, Glasgow Subway, Edinburgh Tram

Plan your journey

Our advice on staying within 5 miles from your home has now changed, however we encourage you to stay within your local area, for exercise or other leisure activities if you can.

The public transport system continues to have limited capacity due to physical distancing and lower service provision. Therefore please think carefully about whether you need to use public transport for travel to exercise, meet friends and family or other leisure activities.

It is important that you plan your journey and check with travelinescotland or your transport operator for the latest travel advice on your route. Your transport operator will also have information on the measures they have put in place to ensure your safety when travelling.

It is possible that travel may take longer than normal on some routes due to reduced capacity and physical distancing measures. You should therefore allow sufficient time especially if your journey involves changes between different forms of transport.

You are advised to plan ahead by identifying alternative routes and options in case of unexpected disruption.

If you can, you should travel at off-peak times which are likely to be less busy. If you are travelling to work your employer may agree alternative or flexible working hours to enable you to travel at less busy times.

Where possible, you should book your travel online through your transport provider’s ticketing app, smartcard or website. If you are unable to pay for tickets online you should consider contactless payment, if you can, or have the correct cash available.

You should adhere to physical distancing from people who are not in your household if you are walking to a station or bus stop and adhere to physical distancing on public transport and at stations, terminals and stops.. Where this may not be possible you should keep the time you spend with others as short as possible and avoid physical contact.

We recommend before starting your journey you wash or sanitise your hands.

On your journey – staying safe

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak some routes may have less space available than usual due to physical distancing measures or changes to previous timetables or schedules.

You should try to maintain physical distancing from people. There may be situations where this is not possible, for example when boarding or alighting, on busier services, busier times of day and when walking through interchanges. If you cannot maintain physical distancing from others, you should avoid physical contact and keep the time you spend with others as short as possible.

If you are travelling with members of your household you should sit together as that will free up space for other passengers.

You must wear a face covering when using public transport in order to prevent the transmission of the virus. For children under 5 years of age or those with particular health conditions who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness or impairment or disability or without severe distress an exemption applies. There is no requirement to obtain evidence in the form of a letter from a doctor or government that you are exempt. If you have a condition which means you cannot wear a face covering you need only advise if asked that you cannot wear a face covering because you are exempt for one of the reasons listed above.

You may remove your face covering if you need to take medication or to eat or drink where reasonably necessary. You should remove your face covering temporarily to comply with a request by a relevant person, such as a ticket examiner who needs to check identity in respect, for example, of a concessionary card.

You are expected to provide your own face covering. A face covering does not have to be a surgical or other medical grade mask but must be a facial covering of the mouth and nose. Face coverings worn over the mouth and nose may include a scarf, face mask or any other type of appropriate covering. It will not be acceptable to pull a shirt, blouse, jumper or coat up to try and cover your nose and mouth.

When applying or removing the covering, it is important that you wash your hands first and avoid touching your face. After each use, you must wash a fabric face covering at 60 degrees centigrade or dispose of it safely.

If you are not wearing a face covering without a reasonable excuse, you will be in breach of the law and may be liable, on summary conviction, to pay a fine.

When travelling comply with any signage or instructions on public transport or from transport staff as the safety measures in place are for everyone’s benefit. Signs and notices may include information about:

  • which seats to use or how to queue
  • any physical restrictions such as screens and barriers or floor markings
  • requests to board through different doors or to move to less busy areas
  • the reduced number of passengers allowed on vehicles because of physical distancing measures.

Be considerate to your fellow passengers and to transport staff:

  • wait for passengers to get off first before you board
  • do not congregate near entrances, exits, under canopies, at bus stops, on platforms or outside of stations
  • be prepared to queue or take a different entrance or exit at stations
  • respect other people’s space while travelling
  • be aware of the impact of restrictions on the needs of fellow passengers who may have impairments, disabilities or mobility issues
  • do not eat or drink, unless necessary on a long journey
  • remember to take all your belongings and not leave any rubbish on tables or seats or other public areas.

If you cannot safely keep your distance on board a bus, train or tram then please wait for the next service. The bus driver, train staff or tram staff may have to ask you to wait for the next service, even when it does not appear necessary, due to reduced capacity and physical distancing measures. Your understanding and patience if this occurs will be appreciated by staff and your fellow passengers.

When travelling be aware of the surfaces you touch. Be careful not to touch your face and remember to cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing. If you have your own hand sanitiser it is recommended you use it throughout your journey, particularly where you are likely to touch surfaces.

Seek assistance if you need it

If you require assistance when travelling and would normally contact your transport operator ahead of time, continue to do so, so they can prepare accordingly.

If any problems arise or you feel ill during your journey, speak to a member of transport staff. In the case of an emergency, contact the emergency services as you normally would.

If you need help, maintain physical distancing from members of staff. If this isn’t possible, you should try to avoid physical contact, if possible, and keep the time you spend with members of staff as short as possible.

Children

Physical distancing applies to children as well as adults. Children should maintain physical distancing from others who are not in their household. If this isn’t possible they should avoid physical contact and keep the time spent with others as short as possible.

If you are the responsible adult or carer travelling with children, please try to ensure that children observe physical distancing.

The Scottish Government has produced specific guidance on preparing for the start of the new school term in August 2020 which includes guidance around school transport. Passengers on public transport should be mindful that operators may designate specific zones for school children where physical distancing will not be required.

Completing your journey

When finishing your journey, you should deposit any of your used tissues or rubbish in bins. We recommend you wash or sanitise your hands (and children’s hands if you are travelling with them) as soon as possible.


Travelling by Ferry

Plan your journey

The gradual easing of restrictions applies equally to all parts of Scotland, including the islands. Ferry travel is now allowed for all purposes which are consistent with the route map and associated guidance.

Ferry services vary significantly across Scotland from short crossings with small passenger-only vessels to long overnight crossings with cabins. Therefore, you should check with your ferry operator about the specific measures that they have put in place to ensure your safety when travelling.

It is essential that you plan your journey and check with travelinescotland or your ferry operator for the latest travel advice on your route. Please also check the arrangements for your journey to the port and onwards on the island, including subsequent ferries, as there may be adjustments, capacity limits and longer connecting times.

Access to our islands for island residents and key workers, such as NHS staff, is essential and we have put measures in place to support this where possible.

Advanced booking will be required on many routes and if you arrive at the port without a booking you may not be permitted to travel. Where possible, book your travel online through your transport provider’s website. If you are unable to pay for tickets online you should check whether contactless or cash payment will be available before travelling to your port of embarkation.

On your journey – staying safe

Travel is not permitted if you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.

You, and any children in your care, should try to maintain physical distancing from other passengers not from your household and from staff at all times. If any problems or emergencies arise or you feel ill during your journey, speak to a member of staff at the earliest opportunity when you can safely do so. When travelling it is essential that you comply with any signage or instructions on the ferry or from staff as the various safety measures are in place are for everyone’s benefit and safety.

Please remember to sanitise your hands where possible before, during and on completion of your journey.

Signs and notices may include information about:

  • which seats to use or how to queue
  • any physical restrictions such as screens, barriers or floor markings
  • requests to move to less busy areas
  • the reduced number of passengers allowed on vessels because of physical distancing measures

Be considerate to your fellow passengers and to staff:

  • follow instructions from vessel and port staff while boarding or disembarking
  • do not congregate near entrances and exits,
  • be prepared to queue
  • respect other people’s space while travelling
  • be aware of the impact of restrictions on the needs of fellow passengers who may have impairments, disabilities or mobility issues
  • remember to take all your belongings and not leave any rubbish on tables or seats or other public areas.

You must wear a face covering when travelling by ferry service or in an enclosed ferry terminal. You must follow the instructions on board the vessel, these instructions will inform you if a face covering is not required, for example, face coverings may not be required in outdoor areas of the vessel or where physical distancing can be maintained due to the size and configuration of the vessel. For children under 5 years of age or those with particular health conditions who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness or impairment or disability or without severe distress an exemption applies. There is no requirement to obtain evidence in the form of a letter from a doctor or government that you are exempt. If you have a condition which means you cannot wear a face covering you need only advise if asked that you cannot wear a face covering because you are exempt for one of the reasons listed above.

You may remove your face covering if you need to take medication or to eat or drink where reasonably necessary. You should remove your face covering temporarily to comply with a request by a relevant person, such as a ticket examiner who needs to check identity in respect, for example, of a concessionary card.

You are expected to provide your own face covering. A face covering does not have to be a surgical or other medical grade mask but must be a facial covering of the mouth and nose. Face coverings worn over the mouth and nose may include a scarf, face mask or any other type of appropriate covering. It will not be acceptable to pull a shirt, blouse, jumper or coat up to try and cover your nose and mouth. 

When applying or removing the covering, it is important that you wash your hands first and avoid touching your face. After each use, you must wash a fabric face covering at 60 degrees centigrade or dispose of it safely.

If you are not wearing a face covering without a reasonable excuse, you will be in breach of the law and may be liable, on summary conviction, to pay a fine.

When travelling comply with any signage or instructions on the ferry or from staff as the safety measures in place are for everyone’s benefit.


Taxis and Private Hire vehicles

Plan your journey

It is important that you plan your journey. Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle operators may have put in place new measures to help with physical distancing. You should check what new measures apply. You may wish to confirm payment arrangements to avoid, if possible, cash transactions.

We recommend before starting your journey you wash or sanitise your hands.

On your journey

At taxi ranks you should try to maintain physical distancing from others. If you cannot, you should avoid physical contact and keep the time you spend with others as short as possible.

You must wear a face covering when using a taxi or private hire vehicle in order to prevent the transmission of the virus. For children under 5 years of age or those with particular health conditions who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness or impairment or disability or without severe distress an exemption applies. There is no requirement to obtain evidence in the form of a letter from a doctor or government that you are exempt. If you have a condition which means you cannot wear a face covering you need only advise if asked that you cannot wear a face covering because you are exempt for one of the reasons listed above.

You may remove your face covering if you need to take medication or to eat or drink, if permissible in the vehicle and where reasonably necessary.

You are expected to provide your own face covering. A face covering does not have to be a surgical or other medical grade mask but must be a facial covering of the mouth and nose. Face coverings worn over the mouth and nose may include a scarf, face mask or any other type of appropriate covering. It will not be acceptable to pull a shirt, blouse, jumper or coat up to try and cover your nose and mouth. 

When applying or removing the covering, it is important that you wash your hands first and avoid touching your face. After each use, you must wash a fabric face covering at 60 degrees centigrade or dispose of it safely.

If you are not wearing a face covering without a reasonable excuse, you will be in breach of the law and may be liable, on summary conviction, to pay a fine.

You should also be aware of the surfaces, like door handles, you or others touch.

Be considerate to your driver by taking all your belongings and rubbish when leaving the vehicle.

Completing your journey

When finishing your journey, you should deposit any of your used tissues or rubbish in bins. We recommend you wash or sanitise your hands (and children’s hands if you are travelling with them) as soon as possible.


Private cars and other vehicles

Plan your journey

Our advice on staying within 5 miles from your home has now changed, however we encourage you to stay within your local area, for shopping and other personal business, where possible. Consider walking, wheeling or cycling, if you can, to reduce pressure on the road network.

If you are using a private vehicle make sure that you plan ahead and check the latest travel advice on your route via trafficscotland

if you can, as well as making sure that your intended car park is open. Otherwise, if parking on-street please be considerate of the local area and residents.

Routes may be different as local authorities make changes to enable physical distancing on pavements and cycle routes.

Car Sharing

You should only travel with members of your own, or extended, household. We recognise that there may be occasions when there is no alternative but to travel with people out with your household. On such occasions, you should:

  • share the transport with the same people each time
  • keep to small groups of people at any one time
  • maintain good ventilation by keeping the car windows open if possible
  • ask everyone to wear face-coverings
  • clean your hands before and after your journey
  • if the vehicle is your responsibility, clean the door handles and other areas that people touch.

On your journey

When driving, you should anticipate more pedestrians and cyclists than usual, especially at peak times of day. You should allow other road users to maintain physical distancing by, for example, giving cyclists room at traffic lights.

You should limit the time you spend at garages, petrol stations and motorway services. You should maintain physical distancing from others and pay by contactless methods, if possible.

You should wash or sanitise your hands before your journey and if you are the driver you should encourage passengers to do likewise.

Completing your journey

When finishing your journey, we recommend you wash or sanitise your hands as soon as possible and ensure regular cleaning of keys or fobs, door handles and steering wheel.


Air travel

Separate guidance relating to airports and aviation is available from the airline you are travelling with or your travel agent. Please also check the websites of the airport you will be departing from, and the airport you will be arriving at.

In Scotland you must wear a face covering when in an airport or on an airplane departing from or landing in Scotland. For children under 5 years of age or those with particular health conditions who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness or impairment or disability or without severe distress an exemption applies. There is no requirement to obtain evidence in the form of a letter from a doctor or government that you are exempt. If you have a condition which means you cannot wear a face covering you need only advise if asked that you cannot wear a face covering because you are exempt for one of the reasons listed above.

You may remove your face covering if you need to take medication or to eat or drink where reasonably necessary. You should remove your face covering temporarily to comply with a request by a relevant person who needs to check your identity.

You are expected to provide your own face covering. A face covering does not have to be a surgical or other medical grade mask but must be a facial covering of the mouth and nose. Face coverings worn over the mouth and nose may include a scarf, face mask or any other type of appropriate covering. It will not be acceptable to pull a shirt, blouse, jumper or coat up to try and cover your nose and mouth. 

When applying or removing the covering, it is important that you wash your hands first and avoid touching your face. After each use, you must wash a fabric face covering at 60 degrees centigrade or dispose of it safely.

If you are not wearing a face covering without a reasonable excuse, you will be in breach of the law and may be liable, on summary conviction, to pay a fine.


International travel

If travelling abroad is essential, make sure you check the latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before travelling. Check with your travel agent or your airline, ferry or train operator on specific rules for each route and destination.

Bear in mind that quarantine rules may apply in the country you are visiting and when you return to the UK.

Find further advice on the UK Government website.


Comments

If you wish to provide comments on this guidance please submit them to transportguidance@transport.gov.scot.