Reopening the city with a safe return to public transport

As we continue to steadily welcome people back to Brighton & Hove, we’re encouraging residents and visitors to once again use public transport to get into and around the city.

With travel restrictions easing and retail and hospitality businesses reopening, it’s been great to see the city edging slowly and safely towards normality; but we’d like to see more people using trains, buses, taxis and bikes to get around.

National surveys carried out by Transport Focus also show high levels of journey satisfaction and that the majority of people already using buses and trains feel safe. 

Passenger numbers have increased in recent months, but numbers are still significantly down compared to a time before the pandemic. More public transport use will mean we can free up space for those who need to use a motor vehicle, such as Blue Badge holders, tradespeople and those making deliveries.

The city has limited car parking spaces available at busy times. For example, during the recent Bank Holiday weekend The Lanes, Regency Square and Trafalgar Street cars parks were 97% full or higher between 1pm and 3pm.

Our public transport partners have been working extremely hard to make sure people can travel safely and confidently. 

Travelling by train

Independent laboratory results show Southern and Thameslink trains are consistently testing negative for Covid-19. Operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) also carries out weekly Covid safety checks and:

•    Has more than 100 extra staff to increase cleaning of surfaces such as handrails, ticket machines and door handles
•    Is sanitising all 2,700 carriages every day and using a long-lasting viricide which kills coronavirus for weeks at a time
•    Has many modern trains with air conditioning which replaces air on board every 6-9 minutes
•    Has alerts to show busy trains to avoid in online journey planners such as National Rail Enquiries
•    Has more signs to support social distancing in stations, on platforms and on trains

You can find more information about GTR is doing to make journeys safe on their website.

Travelling by bus

Brighton & Hove Buses, the city’s main bus operator:

•    Put buses through a rigorous cleaning regime every night and cleaners jump on buses every day to give them an extra wipe down using hospital grade products
•    Has fitted hand sanitisers aboard all its buses
•    Is making sure windows are being kept open at all times to help with ventilation
•    Is encouraging contactless payments wherever possible, but will accept cash payments
•    Is limiting capacity so that buses are not overcrowded
•    Has introduced air filters on buses which remove 99.9% of virus and bacteria

More information about what Brighton & Hove Buses can be found on their website.

Travelling by taxi

We have been working hard with taxi drivers in the city to ensure people can travel safely:

•    We encourage all drivers to ensure vehicles have regular cleaning and that windows are kept open
•    Drivers have been provided with face coverings that can be offered to any passenger that may have forgotten or lost their own
•    We have approved safety screens to be installed in licenced vehicles
•    All operators in the city provide a combination of wheelchair accessible vehicles and saloon vehicles 
•    All Brighton & Hove City Council licensed taxis are fitted with CCTV and drivers have undergone safeguarding training

Travelling by BTN BikeShare

The city’s BTN BikeShare scheme has been providing a valuable service for those needing to get around the city throughout the pandemic, supporting key workers to get to and from their roles.

Cycling offers excellent health and wellbeing benefits and easy social distancing. The scheme has extra hygiene measures in place with a dedicated team cleaning all contact points daily. Users are advised to bring their own sanitiser and/or wipes and to clean their hands both before and after use.  

More information about BTN BikeShare and Covid-19 guidelines can be found on the BTN BikeShare website.

“Excellent public transport network”

Amy Heley, Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee said: “It’s great to see people heading back to Brighton & Hove and I’d like to thank those who are behaving safely and sensibly as we continue to deal with measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“Our partners in public transport have worked very hard since the start of the pandemic to support safe travel for key workers and are continuing the good work as more of us get back to traveling by bus, train taxi and bike.

“We have an excellent public transport network in the city which avoids the need to travel by car, meaning more space for those who do need to drive.” 

General advice for when traveling by public transport

Please remember that:

  • You must wear a face covering on public transport and in substantially enclosed areas of transport hubs in England. You will be breaking the law if you fail to do so and could be fined.
  • Some people don’t have to wear a face covering for health, age or disability reasons.
  • Travel is permitted in groups of no more than 6 people, or 2 households, unless you are travelling for a reason that is exempt.
  • More guidance is available on the government’s website.