General photograph of Queensland Rail Alderley Train Station, Wednesday, May 22, 2019 (AAP Image/Richard Walker)
General photograph of Queensland Rail Alderley Train Station, Wednesday, May 22, 2019 (AAP Image/Richard Walker)

How COVID-19 is changing public transport practices

Public transport companies are looking change practices to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

Duffy's City Buses Bundaberg spokesman Chris Duffy said the company had been in contact with the Department of Transport and Main Roads for updates on the virus.

"The most recent information concerns cleaning techniques required to limit the spread," Mr Duffy said.

"We are in the process of providing out staff members with this new requirement.

"As mentioned, we continue to follow DTMR's directives, nevertheless, the safety of all our employees and customers is our number one priority."

Queensland Rail chief executive Nick Easy mirrored the importance of safety for customers and staff.

"We are continuing to take the advice of Queensland Health and other authorities and are implementing additional precautions in line with this," Mr Easy said.

"The latest advice from the Federal Government is that customers should only consider travelling when it is essential, and if they are unwell, they should stay at home unless seeking medical care.

"For their own safety and others around them, we want to remind customers to please follow Queensland Health's advice regarding good hygiene practices while travelling on our network.

"Queensland Rail has already begun ramping up its cleaning measures in response to COVID-19, with a focus on increased cleaning of hard surfaces and frequently touched locations at stations.

"Our long-distance trains are surface cleaned prior to departure, using a disinfectant solution, and upon arrival at their destination.

"This is in addition to deep cleans every fortnight. Of course, linen on our long-distance services, including the Spirit of Queensland, is changed after each customer's use.

"Queensland Rail has ramped up its cleaning measures on Tilt Trains and other long-distance services, focusing on thoroughly disinfecting hard touch points, including hand rails, door rails and seat handles, before they commence their next service."

At our airports, Virgin Australia and Qantas are looking to suspend flights and limit fleets.

Qantas will cut total group international capacity by around 90 per cent from the end of March until at least the end of May, and domestic capacity will be cut by around 60 per cent during this time.

Despite changes to passenger flights, a Qantas media release stated it would continue to fully utilise its fleet of freighters.

Qantas customers with existing bookings made from 10 March 2020 until 31 March 2020 for travel before 31 May 2020 can retain the value of the booking as Qantas travel credit or a Jetstar travel voucher.

Qantas customers should visit 'Manage Booking' on Qantas.com, select 'Cancel' and then 'Voucher'.

Jetstar customers should go to 'Manage My Booking' on Jetstar.com.

Virgin Australia has planned to suspend all international flying from 30 March to June 14, with group domestic capacity reduction of 50 per cent during the same time.

Chief executive officer and managing director Paul Scurrah said the aviation industry had entered unprecedented times and significant action was required to balance traveller needs and the wellbeing of Australians.

"We have responded by making tough decisions which include reducing our domestic capacity and phasing in the temporary suspension of international flying for a period of two and a half months," Mr Scurrah said in a media release.

"We are committed to supporting our guests during this period and have set up a dedicated customer care hub to manage the surge of customer queries and travel changes.

"We are also acutely aware of the important role airlines play in supporting connectivity, tourism and the nation's economy, and are maintaining most of our domestic routes, and instead reducing frequencies in our schedule."

Virgin Australia said it was offering flexible bookings for impacted guests and those wishing to change travel due to COVID-19.

Guests with domestic or international bookings through to June 30 had the option to change their destination or date without occuring a change fee, while those wishing to simply cancel could retain the value of the booking as travel credit.


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