Now that we’re all venturing out a little more, this travel information will come in very handy indeed…
The lockdown has been relaxed and Leeds city centre has started to reopen. As businesses start to open back up and shops begin welcoming back customers, more and more of us will be heading into the city centre – but how will you get there? One of the things that’s changed since the coronavirus pandemic is the way we travel, so we’ve put together a guide to help you get from A to B safely. Welcome #BacktoLeeds!
You’re less likely to catch the virus outside, so walking is one of the safest ways to get in and around Leeds. It’s also easier to maintain social distancing because you have the space to move around each other, especially now that Leeds City Council has brought in new measures. They’ve introduced a new 20mph zone around the city centre and widened the pavements on Mill Hill, Call Lane, New York Street, New Briggate, St Paul’s Street and Great George Street.
Cycling is just as good as walking – in fact, if you’re travelling longer distances, it’s probably better, because you’ll reach your destination faster. Leeds has a series of established cycle routes into the city centre, as well as a cycle superhighway between Bradford and Leeds, but we’re also getting a series of pop-up cycle schemes to make biking into the city easier. Kirkstall Road will be the first, but they have ambitious plans to install 100 kilometres of trial cycling routes along Scott Hall Road, Harrogate Road, Roundhay Road, Roseville Road and the A660.
Travelling by car is quick and easy, but there are a few things you need to know before you plan your journey. You should expect more cyclists and pedestrians on the streets, especially at peak times – try to maintain social distancing as much as possible, limit the time you spend in petrol stations and sanitise your hands every time you exit or re-enter your vehicle. Most city centre car parks are now open, with the exception of Leeds Train Station. You can park in any council-managed car park free of charge until Saturday 4th July 2020. What’s more, Victoria Leeds and Trinity Leeds are offering free parking for NHS workers.
Although you’re encouraged to walk, cycle or drive wherever possible, you can still catch the bus if you need to. First Bus is running a reduced timetable across Leeds. In order to enable social distancing, they’re only using one-in-four seats and these are clearly marked on the bus. The reduced capacity means buses fill up faster, so you should leave extra time in case you can’t get the bus you planned for. First Bus are busiest in the middle of the day, so try to travel in the morning or late afternoon. Also, please remember that face coverings are now mandatory (*exceptions apply).
Walking and cycling isn’t an option if you’re coming from further afield, so you may have to get the train into Leeds. Northern Rail is running services for essential travel only – they have over 85% less capacity than usual, so think carefully before you travel by train. Social distancing measures are in place at the station and on the trains with markers to tell you where to stand and sit. They’re no longer selling tickets on trains, so you’ll need to buy before you travel. Also, please remember that face coverings are now mandatory (*exceptions apply).
Top tips for using public transport
- Don’t travel if you or someone you live with has a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss of/change in your normal sense of smell or taste
- Travel off-peak and avoid the busiest times of day
- Try to stay 2 metres away from other passengers
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before and after your journey
- Be careful not to touch your face while you travel
- Wear a face covering in the station and on public transport
- Buy your tickets in advance or pay with contactless
- Avoid physical contact and try to face away from other people