In England, the lockdown is beginning to ease. People who can’t work from home are being encouraged to return to their workplaces, while non-essential retail shops are due to reopen soon.
But even if the government says it’s okay, realistically we know that the virus isn’t going to disappear overnight. That means, instead of things going ‘back to normal’, we have to create new habits that stand a better chance of keeping us safe. A new normal.
With travel in particular, people without a car are left thinking that public transport is their only option. That’s far from ideal, firstly because services are still limited. At the moment, footfall in major train stations is thought to be at roughly 10% compared to ‘normal’ – pre-pandemic normal, anyway. And that’s only because trains have been reduced by 70-90%.
However as more things begin to reopen, the likelihood of an increase in public transport also increases. Transport companies are already planning how they can increase their services without decreasing the ability to keep social distance.
Which leads me to my second point. Trains, trams and buses aren’t built for social distancing; let’s face it, they’re not always the most sterile environments. Even with face masks and coverings – which are recommended for everyone – new advice from the UK government also states that COVID-19 has a much higher chance of transmission inside than outside.
A recent poll by SYSTRA suggested 61% of people in the UK are nervous about taking public transport post-lockdown.
Thankfully, it’s far from our only option. London is proving that already. Transport for London says it’s working with the Mayor to accommodate “a tenfold increase in the number of people cycling, and a fivefold increase in the number of pedestrians.”
Already videos have begun circling online of a Westminster that almost appears pedestrianised; the cars have been replaced with bikes as more people are choosing to cycle than ever before.
Cycle manufacturers are reporting a huge spike in sales during the lockdown as cycle-to-work schemes for key workers saw a 200% increase in bicycle orders. Now the general public looks set to continue the trend as we begin to get back to work, too.
It’s not just London; in Greater Manchester a £5m scheme has been unveiled to make the city safer for cyclists and pedestrians, while one main road in Brighton has been closed to cars completely.
The silver linings are plain; reduced carbon emissions, combining exercise with your commute, a much higher chance of safety. But access to bikes could slow the take-up of cycling. Not everybody has a bike, or even an old fixer-upper in the garden shed.
The good news? You don’t have to buy your own bike. You can hire. Brompton Bike Hire, for example, has docking stations all over the country (over 50 locations) that make it easy to safely acquire a folding bike if and when you need to travel. They also have an app that makes it super easy to reserve a bike.
You’re given a pin code to unlock the dock, then you just grab your bike, unfold and go. You can keep your Brompton for up to 30 days and when you’re ready to return it just reserve a bay in any dock.
Disclaimer: this article is sponsored by Brompton Bike Hire. You can find out how to hire a Brompton Bike here, but for now I will say that their price of just £3.50 a day makes train fares seem even more criminal than usual. Stay safe, all while limiting damage to your bank account and the environment. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
[Featured Image Credit: Pexels]
This article is part of a paid partnership with Brompton Bike Hire.