To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage people to use the railways as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased; and if he will make it his policy to reduce rail fares.
We now understand the epidemiology of the virus better and can control it through targeted, local action. Our priority remains the safety of staff and passengers. We are working with rail operators to ensure passengers have the confidence to return to the railway, and continue to take all necessary measures to make rail travel safe. These include the installation of clear floor markings, the provision of extra staff to manage passenger flows and provide guidance, and the mandating of face coverings on public transport.
We have also asked the rail industry to increase the number of services they run. Rail operators continue to assess local demand regularly and deliver the services passengers need. From 7 September, the railway has been operating 91% of its pre-pandemic capacity, providing frequent and reliable trains for passengers.
To support a safe, green recovery and new working patterns we are also considering proposals to try to ensure better value and convenience for part-time and flexible commuters and to support those returning to the railway.