Travel is just one of the many ways in which everyday life has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst the specific details of travel restrictions in Australia vary by state, rules are starting to be relaxed across Australia, with travel for recreational trips and holidays being made possible again.
Unfortunately for those people who don’t own a car, the advice from state governments remains that you should avoid public transport for non-essential travel. But this shouldn’t stop you from enjoying some time away from the city, especially over the public holiday weekend! With Car Next Door, you can rent cars in your neighbourhood by the hour or per day - making it the perfect alternative to public transport.
What are the Coronavirus travel restrictions?
Inter-state travel is still banned across Australia, but the rules for regional travel are starting to be relaxed. Rather than trying to cover all the details in this post, we’ve included a list of links to the various state travel information pages below where you can find the most up-to-date information.
- Australian Capital Territory: ACT Government travel advice
- New South Wales: NSW Government travel and transport advice
- Northern Territory: Northern Territory Government remote work and travel
- Queensland: Queensland Government travel advice
- South Australia: Government of South Australia cross-border travel
- Tasmania: Tasmanian Government travellers and visitors
- Victoria: Victoria State Government Health and Human Services
- Western Australia: Government of Western Australia travel advice
Are busses and trains running?
For the moment, yes, public transport services are continuing to run as normal. With some networks already running close to COVID-safe capacity however, some state governments are encouraging travellers to avoid busses and trains, especially at peak times, unless absolutely necessary in order to maintain proper social distancing.
How risky is travelling on public transport?
A number of measures have been taken by the transport networks to help improve the safety of public transport, and reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus including;
- Social distancing measures including some seats being unavailable.
- Increased cleaning
- Public messaging about personal hygiene
- Removal of cash payment options (all buses and trains will now only accept Opal card or contactless payments)
Despite these measures, it is likely that public transport is one of the less-safe ways to travel during this pandemic due to the fact that the coronavirus is spread through contaminated droplets: additional cleaning can prevent an infected person sharing a bus or train carriage and spreading the virus by coughing or sneezing.
Alternatives to public transport
So what other forms of transport are available when you need to travel for essential reasons? Luckily, there are a few options.
Walking or Cycling
Probably the best way to travel if possible - it’s good exercise, costs nothing, produces no carbon-emissions and, most importantly during the pandemic, allows you to keep a good social distance.
If you don’t own a car or van, but they are the only suitable options for your essential trip, then car sharing might be the answer.
Car sharing offers some useful benefits in this current time;
- Flexibility - you can book by the hour or per day
- Convenience - there are hundreds of car sharing vehicles located in Greater Sydney
- Low cost - car share can be up to 50% cheaper than traditional car hire companies
- Maintain social distance - you don’t have to share your car with anyone else
If you need to travel by car but can’t drive, you’ll be pleased to hear that taxis and rideshare companies like Uber or Ola are still running and have taken precautions against the virus, including preventing drivers from working if they experience any symptoms and educating and encouraging drivers about how to clean their cars effectively.
How to travel to hospital if you are unwell
If you are suffering from the symptoms of COVID-19 and need to get to hospital you should use your own car or a car owned by a family member or an existing close contact. Using any form of shared transport including public transport, rideshare or car sharing could put others at risk.
General advice about how to stay safe when travelling during the pandemic
- Avoid cash - top up online before you travel
- Maintain social distancing
- Avoid peak times
- Don’t travel if you feel unwell
- Wash your hands often and use hand sanitiser
- Don’t touch your face