Frequently asked questions about essential travel

Can I still use public transport?  

 The key message from Welsh Government continues to be that you should stay local and only make essential journeys. However, if you’re a key worker who is providing essential goods or services during the coronavirus pandemic, or you’re someone with no other alternative, you can use public transport. 

Public transport has continued to run a limited service throughout the lockdown period to offer essential journeys across Wales and the borders for people who have no alternative, as safely as possible. 

Although the UK Government has eased its lockdown guidance in England, Wales remains in lockdown until further notice, the advice from both Governments is the same, and only use public transport if you’re a key worker or have no other means of travel.  

With services limited, please only make essential journeys on public transport. 


What does ‘essential’ journeys mean? 

Welsh Government guidance confirms that the following reasons are classed as essential for you to leave your house to travel:  

  • to get to and from work, if you can’t work from home  

  • to get essential food or medical supplies 

  • to support someone who is vulnerable, if no-one else can do so 

  • for daily exercise, but staying local 

Please always think carefully about the times, routes and ways you travel to help reduce the pressure on public transport, wherever possible.  

You should not travel if you’re: 

Before you travel, consider if your journey is necessary. Try to reduce your travel. This will ensure the transport network can keep running and allows people who need to make essential journeys to travel. You can reduce your travel by: 


Can I travel to my job in England on Public Transport? 

Yes, if you’re a key worker or have no other options, limited public transport services across Wales and the borders are continuing to operate to take you to and from work. Please check with your transport operator for service timetables.  

Please note that guidance in Wales remains to only travel on public transport for essential journeys. 


I’m an NHS worker, can I travel for free? 

Yes, as a thank you for all the work that NHS workers are doing to save lives, all NHS staff will be able to travel for free on Transport for Wales services and on most bus operators’ services across Wales. You’ll need to show your identification badge when boarding the bus or train.  

Please check with your bus operator before you travel for terms and conditions which you can find on their website or visit traveline.cymru.  


Is it safe to travel by public transport? 

Your safety is our top priority and we’ve made some important commitments to keep you and our people safe during these difficult times.    

  We promise to:  

  •   prioritise your health, safety, and well-being in all our decisions.  
  •   keep you informed so you can make the right decisions about your well-being.  
  •   keep our services as clean as possible and put additional cleaning activity in place.  
  •   enable social distancing on services and at stations as much as possible.  
  •   provide our people with extra support to protect them while they’re helping you.  


What can I do to help? 

Travel Safer by agreeing to our simple travel advice during these difficult times.   

Stay local - only travel if essential and don’t travel if you’re unwell, even with mild symptoms.


Avoid busy periods - try not to touch surfaces like buttons, doors or your face and try to avoid eating.


Follow our latest travel advice, stay 2 metres apart , wash your hands regularly and consider wearing a face covering.


Exercise while you travel - walk or cycle for short journeys if you can


Respect our staff and other passengers while you’re travelling



You can help us by bringing your own hand sanitiser and using it regularly. 

Always follow Public Health Wales guidance to help stop the spread of the coronavirus: 

  • Catch it - use tissues to catch your cough or sneeze 

  • Bin it – dispose of your tissues as soon as possible 

  • Kill it – clean your hands as soon as you can 


What do I need to do before I make my essential journey? 

The Welsh Government has created a useful checklist for people to use before they set off on their journeys.  

Plan your journey 

  • Can I walk or cycle to my destination? 

  • Have I checked the latest travel advice from my transport operator? 

  • Have I booked my travel ticket online or checked if contactless payment is possible? 

  • Have I planned my journey to minimise crowded areas and allow for delays? 

  • Am I taking the most direct route to my destination? 


What you should take with you: 

  • A plan for my journey  

  • Contactless payment card 

  • Phone (if needed for travel updates, tickets, contactless payments) 

  • Tickets 

  • Hand sanitiser  

  • Essential medicines  

  • Tissues 

  • A face covering  


What can I do to reduce the risk of catching the virus from touching the handrails and buttons on public transport?

Whilst increased cleaning regimes are in place on buses and trains, with extra attention on areas that come into regular human contact such as handrails and buttons, we do ask that all passengers take their own precautions to help make sure the public transport network is kept as safe as possible. 
Firstly, we’d advise that you follow the official government guidance of washing your hands regularly, especially before and after you use public transport. Other measures you can do to reduce the risk include: 
•    Avoid touching surfaces like door buttons and handrails
•    Carry a suitable hand sanitiser with you
•    Don’t touch your face 
•    Avoid eating while you’re onboard if you can, onboard catering is not currently available  
We appreciate that these measures are not always feasible, but wherever possible, please wait for the train conductor to release the doors when you’re boarding or leaving the train, this will help reduce the amount of people making contact with the door buttons.  
When travelling on the bus, please wait for the vehicle to fully stop before you get up from your seat, this will help reduce you needing to use the handrails. 
If you have a hand sanitiser available, we’d advise that you use it straight after you have left the bus or train, especially if you have made any contact with a surface onboard.
Wearing gloves is not mandatory but a personal choice. It does not replace the importance of maintaining strict hand hygiene


How can I find out when public transport is running? 

We’re committed to keeping the public transport network moving to make sure those with no other option can make essential journeys as safely as possible, with extra cleaning and safety measures in place. 

To find out the latest timetable information for:  

Travelling by train 

Travelling by bus 

Please always allow extra time for your journey and double check journey details before you travel.  


Can I take my bike on public transport as part of my essential journey? 

Space on public transport is currently very limited due to the social distancing measures in place. Please take advantage of cycle parking facilities at or near our stations where available and avoid bringing bikes onto public transport wherever possible. Information regarding the availability of cycle parking facilities at our railway stations is available here.


Can I use public transport to take my children to school/childcare? 

Children can travel on public transport if it’s the only option for essential travel, but please consider whether or not they could walk or cycle or whether they should be accompanied by a responsible adult or carer.   

Children need to observe social distancing and should: 

  • stay 2 metres apart from people outside their household wherever possible 

  • avoid physical contact and keep the time spent with others within 2 metres as short as possible 

  • face away from people outside their household 

  • wash their hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer before and after travelling  

If you’re responsible adult or carer, please try to ensure that children observe social distancing. 


I need assistance when travelling – am I able to still use public transport? 

 Yes, in line with government advice, if you need assistance when travelling, staff will continue to provide help, wherever possible, to get you home safely.  Allocated space for wheelchair users remains in place on trains and buses.  Guide dogs can continue to travel on public transport with their owners. 

Due to the impact the coronavirus has had on staffing levels across the transport network, this may limit our ability to operate a full service but the transport industry is committed to continue to do everything we can to help you complete your journey.  

While it is not a requirement to book ahead, we strongly recommend that you call 0333 3211 202 if you’re planning on travelling by train, or please contact your bus operator to discuss your journey as soon as possible or call Traveline Cymru on 0800 464 0000.   

Please only use public transport for essential journeys, wherever possible. 


What forms of travel do you recommend in place of buses or trains? 

With significantly reduced capacity on the public transport network, due to social distancing, we’re asking people, wherever possible, to avoid travelling by bus or train and use active travel for short journeys to help reduce pressure on public transport and allow space to be given to those who have no alternative. 

You may have heard the term ‘Active Travel’ being used, this refers to when you make a journey by walking or cycling for a purpose such as travelling to work, to school, to the shops or to bus and rail stations. Walking and cycling has proven health and well-being benefits, so you’ll be getting in your daily exercise while you travel. 


Where can I find help on planning my active travel journey? 

Help with planning your journey on foot or by bicycle is available through the Traveline Cymru website. You can also download the Traveline Cymru app for free. Alternatively, Google Maps and Komoot offer free journey planning functions that cater for journeys on foot or by bicycle. 

Information on active travel routes in your area is also available from your local Council’s website, details of which can be found here.

To check whether you live near the National Cycle Network you can visit the Sustrans website

Local councils across Wales are also being encouraged to install temporary facilities to make it easier for people to walk and cycle and Sustrans have developed a tool to help you see what’s being implemented in your area at https://www.sustrans.org.uk/space-to-move/.  


I don’t own a bicycle but would like to cycle, is any help available? 


Public bike share schemes, such as Nextbike, are available in a small number of local authorities in Wales, where you can hire a bike to get you from a to b. To find out more about Nextbike, and how to stay safe whilst using their service during COVID-19, visit their website.  

If you’re a keyworker in Cardiff, you can also now get a free Nextbike membership and further details are available here

Other local schemes may also be available in your area, please check your local council’s website for further information. 


I am not physically able to use Active Travel; can I use my car instead? 

Active Travel is actively encouraged, however, for those who are not able to walk or cycle, driving is seen as a practical option for people to use under the current circumstances.  


I don’t drive, but my colleague has offered me a lift into work – is car share allowed? 

Car share should only happen when all the passengers are from the same household. If you usually share a car with someone who doesn't live in the same household as you, please consider a different way of travelling such as walking or cycling.  

If your journey is essential, such as travel to work or for a medical appointment, and there is no other option but to share a car with someone outside your household, there are some things you can do to help minimise the safety risks: 

  • Keep the number of passengers to a minimum  

  • Keep windows open for good ventilation  

  • Face away from other passengers, wherever possible 

  • Vehicle should be cleaned regularly using standard cleaning products with focus on high contact areas, such as door handles 


Is Community Transport Association still running its services? 

To find out what services are running in your area, please contact the Community -Transport Association (CTA) between 10am – 4pm Monday – Friday, by emailing your query to advice@ctauk.org 

More information is also available on their website.



Is the fflecsi service available? 

fflecsi is our new pilot service working in partnership with local bus operators, it replaces a number of scheduled bus services to help people make essential local journeys. 

The pilot service is currently being trialled in the Newport area and is run between 7.30am – 6.30pm.  

Safety is paramount, and we’ve designed fflecsi to transport passengers as safely as possible. Knowing how many passengers we’re picking up means we can send the right size vehicle and maintain social distancing. 

fflecsi also allows people to choose when they want to travel which means key workers can get to work on time or you can make essential journeys with minimal delay. 

There are plans to roll out the service to other areas if the pilot proves popular. Some fflecsi services could continue to run alongside your normal scheduled bus services in the future. 

 To find out more call 0300 234 0300 or visit the website


How will I able to social distance on public transport? 

While we can’t travel as freely as we’d like at the moment, we know you still need to make necessary journeys and we want you to be able to do this as safely as possible. 

We’re working closely with all public transport operators to introduce extra measures so that you can use public transport as safely as possible – this includes introducing a range of measures, wherever possible: 

  • limiting the number of passengers allowed on buses and trains at one time, wherever possible  

  • queuing systems at stations 

  • clear social distancing markings at stations and on trains and buses, and some local councils may mark up larger bus stop areas 

  • Cashless payments, wherever possible 

  • Online tickets, wherever possible  


Why can’t you run more trains to help tackle social distancing?  

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. We must factor in the safety and availability of public transport staff, as well as the availability of actual buses and trains (fleet).  

The reality is that even if we run a full service, the social distance guidance means that trains and buses will only be able to carry a fraction of the normal number of passengers safely. We’re running slightly more rail services from 18 May 2020 and we’re also running services with more carriages where it is possible to do so.  

If everyone avoids public transport wherever possible, and only travel if there’s no other option available, we’re confident that we’ll be able to continue to support our priority passengers with the safest travel possible.  


How can I be sure that public transport services are clean? 

Public transport vehicles and trains are being thoroughly cleaned in line with Welsh Government guidelines. Heavily used areas such as tables, handles and anywhere passengers may regularly touch are regularly and thoroughly cleaned, this includes station areas.   

Keeping front-line staff as safe as possible is also one of our top priorities, and we’re working with public transport providers to make sure staff and passengers are kept as safe as possible. 


What cleaning products are being using on public transport? 

Extra cleaning measures are in place, and areas which come into close contact with passengers and staff, such as handles, grab rails, ticket machines and arms rests are regularly cleaned using products that are recommended in line with Welsh Government guidance. 


Will I need to wear a face covering when I travel on public transport? 

The latest advice from the Welsh Government states that passengers don’t have to wear a face covering on public transport, but they can do so if they wish. We do ask that you keep to the social distancing measures in place, and if you’re showing any symptoms of the coronavirus, please do not travel. You can read the Chief Medical Officer for Wales’s advice on the use of face coverings here


Will I need to wear gloves when I travel on public transport? 

No, gloves are not mandatory but a personal choice. We do ask that all passengers continue to follow the government guidance on regularly washing their hands before and after they travel, and please use hand sanitisers where available. 


Will my temperature be taken before travel? 

No, your temperature won’t be taken before you use public transport. If you have a high temperature or if you’re showing any symptoms of the coronavirus, please do not travel. 


What security measures are in place on public transport? 

We have a zero-tolerance policy on anti-social behaviour, and we ask that all passengers respect fellow commuters and public transport staff, who are doing their best to offer services during very difficult times.  

We’re continuing to work very closely with the British Transport Police (BTP), who are there to offer support in tackling any criminal incidents on the rail network and help with educating passengers on the importance of following the social distancing measures. 

You can report an incident on the rail network either safely alerting a member of staff or by calling the BTP on 0121 634 5600.  

If you experience problems when travelling by bus, please safely alert your driver who will follow the protocols in place and radio for assistance, where necessary.  


What extra support is available for public transport staff? 

The safety and well-being of the front-line staff across the public transport network continues to be one of our top priorities.  

We’re working together with the trade unions, safety bodies and other partners to ensure that our people can work safely while helping people who need to travel to get to where they need to be.  

We’ll continue to follow public health and government advice about what public transport staff need to do while their carrying out their work duties. This includes wearing suitable face coverings and other protective equipment, as needed.  


I’d like to change my working hours – how can I plan my journeys? 

If you have no other option but to travel by bus or train, we ask that you avoid busy times between 7am – 9am and 4pm - 6.30pm, wherever possible, to help ease pressure on the limited capacity available.  

View the latest timetable details:   




Did your timetables change on 18 May 2020, in line with the rest of the UK? 

Yes, there was a small increase to the number of trains operating from 18 May 2020. 

We’re working in partnership with our rail industry partners to provide more capacity across the public transport network. We did this so that we’re linked in with the rest of the UK rail network, and to help prepare for any future changes in government guidance.  

The increase is small and is being done to offer more space so that we can continue to transport our key workers safely, in line with the main timetable change across the UK rail industry. We’re also working to support those who have to travel, and their only option is using public transport.  

In the meantime, the advice remains the same, please only make essential journeys and stay local. Please consider other forms of transport like cycling or walking, wherever possible.  

If you do need to use public transport, please make sure you check before you travel and avoid the busiest times: 




When will the timetables return to normal?  

We don’t know yet. We’re continuing to review and working closely with our public transport partners to run as many services as possible, where we can safely do so and in line with government guidance.  

Please always check journey times before your travel. 




Are there any changes to ticket prices?  

No, fares across bus and rail services have not changed. Wherever possible, please book online and use contactless payments.  You may need to reserve a seat on some services – this will be made clear when you book your ticket.   


Can I still use for my bus pass for travel? 

Yes, if you have a valid Concessionary Travel Pass the same terms and conditions apply. Again, we stress that everyone please avoid using public transport, wherever possible for the time being. If you do need to travel, please avoid travelling during the busiest periods of the day, such as the morning or afternoon commute. 

I have a plus companion bus pass as I need assistance when travelling, will my carer be allowed to travel with me? 

If your journey is essential and you need assistance with travelling, your companion, if they’re from the same household, will be able to travel with you. If your companion does not live in your household, in line with government guidance, we’d ask you to avoid travelling with them for the time being. 

If you have any queries regarding your companion pass, please contact your local council to discuss. 

When travelling, please present your bus pass when asked by the member of staff. 


Is ‘contactless’ the only way to pay for tickets?   

No, but it is the preferred option as it limits the need for social contact. Wherever possible, please buy your ticket online or pay by contactless at the ticket office or when you board your bus. 


Are the ticket offices open?  

Most ticket offices are currently closed and enquiries are being redirected to the relevant head offices.However, some ticket offices may be open where there is demand, and social distancing measures will be in place. Please check with local train or bus operator for more information. 

Please purchase tickets online before you travel, where possible. This will help avoid any unnecessary contact with other people.  

For rail tickets visit tfwrail.wales 

For bus tickets, please visit your local operator’s website or traveline.cymru

How far ahead can I search for a journey?  

You won’t be able to view timetables as far in advance as you normally would, this is because it’s a changing picture and the public transport industry is responding regularly to government guidance. We’re therefore asking that people check timetables within a week of when they plan to travel.   





Can I get a refund on my season ticket?  

Yes. You can find out the details on how you can get a refund here

For refunds on buses, please contact your bus operator directly or visit traveline.cymru.  


Will station cafés and shops be open and will there be onboard catering? 

Not all shops at stations will be open, and those that are able to operate will be following social distancing rules. There are currently no onboard catering services available. 

Guidance issued by the Welsh Government asks passengers to avoid eating while travelling on public transport, wherever possible.   


Will toilets and waiting rooms be open at stations?  

Yes, wherever possible we’ll keep waiting rooms and toilets open. However, due to the social distancing rules, there will be restrictions on how many people can use them at one time.  Hand wash and hand sanitiser will be available to use. 


Where will people wait if there’s major disruption?  

We’re working with the public transport industry to reduce disruption. If there are incidents on the transport network, the relevant transport operator will provide passengers with the latest information and advice via their communication channels to make sure everyone can continue their journey as quickly and as safely as possible.  

To avoid crowds gathering during disruption, please always check before you travel:  




What happens if there’s a delay or disruption to services? 

In cases of major delays or disruption, rail replacement buses will continue to be used. If this happens, staff will be on hand to provide you with all the necessary guidance and details and social distancing measures will be in place, wherever possible. 

Where possible, bus operators will arrange for replacement buses to be deployed as soon as possible and offer the right level of support for passengers to keep them safe.  Delays will be communicated via their communication channels. 


Can I still travel by taxi? 

Taxi and private hire vehicle companies are still providing services. Please check with your local operator to discuss what services and measures are currently in place.  

Taxi and private hire vehicle operators are likely to have put in place new measures to help with social distancing and it’s important that you always follow the advice of the driver to help keep everyone as safe as possible.  

Please avoid sharing a taxi with people who are not from your household, wherever possible face away from the driver, and keep the time you spend near other people as short as possible. Please wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitiser before and after your journey. 

Like with other forms of public transport, please only use for essential journeys


I am feeling very anxious and isolated, where can I get support? 

We appreciate that these are unprecedented times that have brought stress and anxiety for passengers and staff across the network, we’re doing everything that we can to minimise the risk and make sure everyone that must use the network can travel safe.  If you need someone to talk, you can contact one of the charities listed below who offer free and confidential advice 24/7: 


Time to Change Wales 



My home isn’t a safe place, where can I go for help about domestic violence? 

We’ve signed up to the ‘Rail to refuge’ UK scheme in support of Women’s Aid, which offers to cover the cost of train travel for anyone who needs to flee domestic violence during the coronavirus crisis.  

You can find out more here


Contact us 

Thank you for your patience and support. We’re doing everything that we can to be able to respond to the changing guidelines and get back up and running to our normal public transport services as soon as it’s safe to do so.  

For general enquiries relating to public transport, including Bus, Rail and active travel, you can contact Traveline Cymru:  

For enquiries relating to Transport for Wales’ rail services, go here. 

For enquiries relating to Transport for Wales activities more generally, email contact@tfw.wales  


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