With many commuters now heading back to work, Travel South Yorkshire’s senior travel advisor Nicola Bladen tells unLTD’s Anna McGuire how her team are currently supporting workplaces and helping commuters travel safely at this time

Employers across the region have been investing significant amounts of time and money into making their facilities COVID-19 secure to reassure their employees that their return to work will be a safe one.

Enhanced cleaning routines, one-way systems, and hand sanitising stations have become everyday essentials, no matter what the workplace setting.

Everyone wants to travel safely, whether it is by foot, bike, tram, train, car or bus. Sometimes travelling by car may be the only option but with increased traffic and the inevitability of congestion, now is the perfect time to re-think how and when we use our cars.

Key ideas could include:

  • Could you drive on fewer days and switch some of those trips to walking or cycling?
  • Is there a public transport option that you could try?
  • Could you park further away from your workplace and adopt a ‘park and stride’ approach to your journey?
  • Could you combine the car with a short public transport trip by using a Park and Ride facility?

By reducing the amount of time spent in your car, you will help keep cars out of city and town centres, improve traffic flow, the environment and break-up what could have been a sedentary day.

Just like workplaces, public transport operators have also been working hard to ensure their passengers can travel safely and have introduced a range of measures to help both customers and staff. Recent initiatives have involved making improvements to apps and other journey planning tools to show how busy services are likely to be at certain times and showing seat availability on individual services. These kinds of tools can really help us all to plan ahead and potentially alter our commute to travel at a less busy time.

Flexibility and patience will be key traits for all of us as we begin to travel more over the coming weeks. We can all play our part, whether it’s travelling less, switching to a different mode of travel or even retiming our journeys. We will all have to think about our commute that little bit more. For me, I’m missing the bit of walking I used to do between the station and the office. If anything, I’m looking forward to getting that back. Every business has the challenge of helping to get their staff to and from work in a safe and supportive way.

At Travel South Yorkshire, we are on hand to help and by working with businesses to access people’s time whether that is through senior teams, support teams or even on a one-to-one level with employees, we can help people make the best choices for them at this time. Hosting travel surgeries means we can discuss travel options and help those currently using public transport. All this can be done ‘virtually’.

We’re keen to talk to and work with businesses of all sizes – small, medium or large – and to see how we can help more people re-think their journey to work. We may not have all the solutions to hand, but if we don’t, we’re sure we’ll know someone who will.

To find out how Travel South Yorkshire’s Active and Sustainable Travel team can help your workplace and offer practical support, please contact sustainabletravel@sypte.co.uk or alternatively, visit travelsouthyorkshire.com/workplace.