The Marshall Government has announced its public transport road map in response to Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice released today to help to continue to keep South Australians safe on our buses, trains and trams.
The AHPPC has developed Principles for COVID-19 Public Transport Operations to provide guidance to public transport operators and passengers to help keep them safe.
“We have a strong plan to keep South Australians safe on public transport that has been developed based on the expert health advice,” said Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll.
“Following health advice has been the cornerstone of our success in responding to COVID-19 in South Australia and we will continue this approach as our economy opens up and more people catch public transport.
“We acted swiftly and decisively in response to COVID-19 to increase cleaning, move to a cashless system and better protect bus drivers to help keep all public transport users safe.
“Now we have received the latest health advice we will build on these measures.
“Among those measures are a trial to extend the morning and afternoon peak periods on the Gawler line, additional marking on platforms, updated signage and posters and accelerate the introduction of new smartphone apps providing commuters with better real-time information.
“Currently patronage on public transport is down around 70 per cent and we will be rolling these additional measures out as our economy opens up and more people catch a train, tram or bus.
“We also echo the advice of health officials and encourage South Australians to take personal responsibility for their travel arrangements and their behaviour on public transport.
“As the health officials have said, that could mean staggering your travel where possible, not traveling during peak periods unless it’s essential and avoiding public transport if you’re unwell.”
In March, the Marshall Government acted swiftly and decisively, implementing measures to keep South Australians safe on public transport based on health advice, including;
- More frequent cleaning of buses, trams and trains;
- Discontinued cash handling by transitioning to a “MetroCard Only” system;
- Accelerated the installation of Perspex screens for bus drivers and restricted access to open areas immediately around drivers;
- Staggered arrival of trains at Adelaide Railway Station to spread the peaks of people entering and leaving the terminal;
- Installation of signage on the fleet of trains, trams and buses that sends clear messages to customers not to board if unwell; and to encourage physical distancing as far as practicable at stops and stations, and on board services;
- Frequent station announcements about COVID-19 safe practices on public transport; and,
- Signage at key stations and interchanges, and inside vehicles with information published by health authorities about good personal hygiene habits.
Based on today’s AHPPC, and in consultation with the Chief Public Health Officer, to keep South Australians safe on public transport as restrictions reduce, we will;
- Trial a new AM and PM peak train timetable on the Gawler line that will provide more services across an extended peak period to increase capacity and give customers more options. If successful, we will extend these arrangements to other lines;
- Operate a shuttle bus to provide additional capacity from Mawson Lakes to CBD when increased patronage warrants more services;
- As customers return to bus services, monitor the busiest bus routes (like the O-Bahn), moving available capacity and shifting services around to better match the demand with the number and timing of services offered;
- Accelerate the introduction of a range of new Apps that provide customers with better real-time information about their public transport services to make it easier to find information;
- Mark the floors of trains, trams, buses and our busiest platforms with arrows for unidirectional flow where appropriate, as has been done in the supermarkets, to encourage customers to follow a single direction for boarding and alighting, so that they do not infringe on each other;
- Put additional marking on the platforms and waiting areas of our busiest stations and interchanges to reinforce the spacing needed to maintain recommended physical distances; and reinforce this with regular announcements;
- Update signage and posters across the network to provide more information to customers about the recommended habits and behaviours whilst using public transport, on advice of the CPHO; and publish and promote this through our digital channels;
- Accelerate conversion of the remainder of the diesel train fleet to 2×2 seating (currently 2×3) to provide for more aisle space for customers;
- Provide well signposted hand sanitisation facilities at Adelaide Railway Station;
- Create a taskforce with City of Adelaide on measures to encourage more cycling and walking within the CBD where possible and staggering travel in the CBD; and,
- Commence a “Travel Choices” communications program to encourage customers to consider a range of travel options, including active transport for shorter trips; car sharing; and retiming their travel on public transport services if they can; and to provide strong public messaging about the Plan.