As the holidays come closer, many of us are asking ourselves what the safest way to get around is. Are you more or less at risk of contracting COVID-19 on a train than on a plane? What’s the best way to get to the airport nowadays? Should we take public transportation, or opt for private-hire vehicles?
Don’t worry, we took a look at the different modes of transportation to see what measures are in place. That way, you can make an informed decision.
We took an in-depth look at why you’re quite safe from contracting COVID-19 on a plane here. To cut a long story short, airlines have gone to great lengths to make sure that both crew and fellow passengers run as minimal risk of infection as possible. From HEPA filters to high-tech cleaning procedures and strategic airflow patterns, flying is a good way of getting where you need to go quite safely.
If you’ve booked a trip with TravelPerk, our Travel Safety Solution will keep you informed on the measures implemented by the airline you’re traveling with. You’ll receive email notifications from us that will provide you with information about the safety measures you’ll need to follow aboard your flight.
If you’ve got a long-haul flight coming up, check out our article The Best Face Masks for Long Haul Flights.
Rail companies around the world are taking steps to ensure safer travel aboard their trains and in railway stations.
Network Rail, in the UK, has implemented one-way systems in their stations to limit crowding at peak times. Hand sanitizers are available in stations across the country and face coverings are mandatory at all times. Common touch surfaces are regularly disinfected to minimize the risk of transmission. All UK train operators have implemented safety measures to protect public health. Consult your operator’s website for further details.
Spanish rail company Renfe is replacing all headrests between each journey and is renewing the air in train carriages every 9 minutes. They conduct careful disinfection of common touch spaces and passengers cannot enter boarding areas more than 90 minutes before departure. Everyone aboard must wear face masks for the duration of the journey.
Deutsche Bahn in Germany has introduced a primarily contactless, digital system of interaction with the train and its staff to avoid contact. Tickets can be scanned and purchased via a smartphone app, and train doors open automatically to prevent passengers from touching door buttons. Disinfectant is available on all trains and in stations, and masks are mandatory.
Car rental companies like Sixt, Avis, Hertz, and Enterprise put their cars through thorough cleaning procedures between each rental. They clean the interior and exterior of all vehicles and disinfect common touchpoints like steering wheels, door handles, and radio dials. All car rental personnel are required to wear face coverings when dealing with vehicles and customers. Enterprise has also implemented curbside vehicle pick up and online check-in procedures to encourage social distancing and limit face to face interactions. That, combined with the fact that the car is “yours” while you rent it, makes this quite a good option for safe travel.
Carsharing apps like ShareNow, Zity, or Zipcar face a challenge in that they aren’t able to repossess the cars between each journey for disinfection. They have meticulous hygiene and cleaning measures in place, and they use contactless payment. Drivers are expected to wear face masks at all times, wash their hands before entering the car and disinfect the steering wheel with antibacterial wipes when they’re done.
Taxi apps like Uber, Free Now, and Cabify actually have fairly sophisticated means of maintaining safety measures. At Uber, for example, drivers have to upload a selfie to their platform so that the company can verify that they are wearing a mask prior to each ride. Both drivers and passengers are able to give feedback and report any health issues encountered on the journey. Free Now also has factory-installed partition screens that create a physical barrier between the driver and passengers.
Public transport, in general, is more difficult to keep clean at the best of times, and especially during a pandemic. In fact, Transport for London recommends commuters to continue walking or cycling where possible, and only use the underground at off-peak, quiet hours. That being said, always remember to maintain a safe distance from other passengers, wear your mask, and disinfect your hands both before and after your journey.
To Sum Up
Staying informed and up to date on COVID-19 transmissions and travel guidance is important when traveling safely this holiday season. Wearing face masks, regularly washing your hands, avoiding touch surfaces, and respecting social distancing practices are rules you should apply no matter how you travel. Always remember to check travel advice from your local health & safety authorities for further information.