SCOTRAIL have put in place strict new rules to ensure safer travel while using the railways.

The First Minister revealed on Thursday that face coverings would be mandatory on public transport from today, as she outlined Scotland’s move into Phase 2 of the route map out of lockdown.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson has urged people to continue limiting their travel, asking people to “leave space on public transport for those who need it most”.

He also urged employers to carefully manage their phased returning of staff to work with figures suggesting up to 55% of employees could travel to their normal workplace in this phase.

When Scotland was in full lockdown, the figure was just 30%.

It could also result in an increase in the number of passengers on public transport by around by a third from the current levels of around 225,000 per day.

But what are the rules for using ScotRail trains?

According to ScotRail, these are the five key rules to remember when travelling:

  1.  Do not travel if you feel unwell or have a temperature.
  2. Travel away from the main commuting times (0700 – 0900 and 1600 – 1830) wherever possible, as trains will be busiest around then. The earliest and latest trains serve key workers, like NHS and care home staff.
  3. If you think it’s not safe to board a train, don’t do it and wait for another service.
  4. Wear a face mask or covering and, where possible, maintain physical distancing.
  5. Be patient. You might not be able to board your first choice of train, as physical distancing means most seats need to be left empty.

David Simpson, ScotRail Operations Director, said: “The position on face coverings is now absolutely clear and we are urging customers to take collective responsibility and follow the Scottish Government rules on their mandatory use.

“We are doing everything we can to help customers get used to the changes in rail travel and that’s why, for a limited time, we will be providing face masks at our busiest stations. But Scotland’s Railway can’t guarantee physical distancing at all stages of a customer’s journey.

“The message remains the same as it has been since the start of the pandemic: only travel if your journey is essential and follow our five rules for safer travel. It will help to keep you, your fellow customers, and our staff safe.”

To support customers, ScotRail are providing face masks free of charge at 18 of Scotland’s busiest stations. 

Those stations are:​

• Glasgow Queen Street

• Edinburgh Haymarket 

• Glasgow Central

• Edinburgh Waverley

• Inverness 

• Aberdeen 

• Argyle Street

• Exhibition Centre

• Johnstone

• Ayr

• Paisley Gilmour Street

• Linlithgow

• Falkirk High

• Bathgate

• Airdrie

• Hyndland

• Dalmuir

• Motherwell

Does everyone have to wear a mask?

The majority of the public has to wear some form of face covering on public transport from today.

But there are some exemptions to the rule. 

They are:

  • Children under five
  • Police officers/first responders in an emergency
  • Staff separate by a physical barrier – including bus drivers behind a screen
  • Anyone with a health condition where a mask would cause difficulty, including asthma
  • You need to take medication
  • To speak with someone who lip reads
  • When asked to remove it by a relevant authority, e.g. Police officer.