Between the Lines: August 2020

When the current crisis is eventually over, there will be a need to invent a new passenger railway in Britain. The finances and patterns of use of the railway that existed until the middle of March when passenger volumes fell off a cliff have been permanently fractured.

At the beginning of July, Government advice to avoid public transport use for other than essential journeys remained in place, and passengers are required to wear face coverings. The Transport Salaried Staffs Association joined in, with a sabre-rattling threat to ballot for national strike action if the ‘two metre’ rule is relaxed on public transport. In contrast, planes are beginning to fly again, with face coverings but without social distancing. Running an airline with 20% load factors and without government support is unsustainable.

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