Lancashire County Council urges people to plan journeys to help minimise congestion when schools go back

Lancashire County Council is urging people to plan their journeys to help minimise congestion when schools go back next week.

Saturday, 29th August 2020, 3:45 pm
Lancashire County Council is urging people to plan their journeys to help minimise congestion when schools go back next week. Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP via Getty Images)

The roads are expected to be at their busiest since before the coronavirus lockdown as most pupils return to the classroom for the first time since March.

With some schools expected to introduce special access arrangements to help social distancing and keep year-group ‘bubbles’ apart, parents are being asked not to add to congestion outside schools while everyone gets used to the new systems in place.

Wherever possible, families are being asked to arrange for pupils to walk or cycle. The current Switch to Cycling campaign is looking to build on an increase in people cycling during lockdown with lots of advice for anyone thinking of cycling.

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The county council’s highways and transport teams will be monitoring the situation on the roads in order to respond as quickly as possible to any local issues.

Public buses cannot carry the same number of passengers they usually would due to social distancing measures, and everyone is being asked to try and avoid travelling on public buses at peak times, particularly if they could walk or cycle instead.

The council is working with transport operators to put on extra dedicated school bus services. People are asked to check with local operators for details.

County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We can expect the roads to be much busier next week than we’ve been used to in recent months, however we can all do our bit to help things run as smoothly as possible.

“If you can avoid travelling at rush-hour please do, and if you need to travel please leave extra time for your journey.

“This is a national issue, which is why the government has given councils funding for measures to make cycling easier. The pop-up cycle lanes and road closures to create quieter routes for cycling mean there’s never been a better time to start cycling for short journeys, and it could also make your journey quicker and less stressful.”

It is now the law that children and young people aged 11 and over must wear a face covering on public transport, and in bus and railway stations.

Pupils are asked to bring their own hand sanitiser, and use it on boarding and after getting off the bus. Schools have been advised to put in place safe boarding procedures and to consider seating arrangements on buses to minimise social contacts.

Pupils who pay their bus fare in cash are asked to have the right coins to minimise the need to handle change.