COVID-19: Travelling Safely


The Covid-19 outbreak in 2020 has meant that many of us have changed our travel behaviours; some of us travel less, perhaps choose to stay local or change how we get from A-B.

Keep up to date with the latest travel guidance to help you plan a safe journey.


General guidance

The Scottish Government have produced detailed guidance on travelling safely during the pandemic and it is updated regularly.

People who live in a Level 3 or 4 local authority area in Scotland are now required to stay in that area unless they have a reasonable excuse to travel, such as work, education, or welfare reasons. 

In general, the advice is to:

Stay at home if you or anyone in your household is experiencing coronavirus symptoms or if you are self-isolating.

Stay local as much as possible for goods, services and activities and  continue to work from home where you can.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser before and after every transport journey.


Face coverings

Face coverings are mandatory on public transport, as they are now in many circumstances. The must be worn by all passengers and staff unless exempt.

Read the full guidance on face coverings from the Scottish Government

Young children are exempt from wearing a face covering, as are those people, for example, with health conditions for whom a face covering would be inappropriate.

If you want to let public transport staff know you are exempt, you can apply for an exemption card from the Scottish Government. Alternatively, if you already use a Thistle Assistance card, you can add your exemption to your details.

Public Transport

  • Scottish Government guidance currently advises minimising our use of public transport, where possible, to allow space for those who need to use it.
  • Be mindful that there may be temporary restrictions or changes to timetables - plan ahead and read the latest advice from your operator.
  • If you can, pay for your ticket online, with a Smart Ticket, your operator's App, or contactless payment. This helps to can reduce cash handling.
  • Make sure to follow any signs and instructions from staff while on board, or as you wait.

All buses continue to operate at a reduced capacity to help comply with the current social distancing advice while on your journey. To help you plan your trip in advance, Stagecoach have introduced a busy bus indicator available on their app.

Full details of these timetables are available online. As these may be subject to change further, customers are advised to check for the latest information on their dedicated web page.

First Bus

With the latest version of the First Bus App you can now track your bus live on a map and it also displays how many seats are available on each bus.

Full details of these timetables are available online. As these may be subject to change further, customers are advised to check for the latest information on their dedicated web page.


To keep essential journeys going, more than 90% of normal services are in operation, with 100% of normal capacity provided during peak travel hours.

Physical distancing on trains and at stations is reduced to a minimum of one metre

Find out more about ScotRail's Five Rules for Safer Travel and other ways they are keeping passengers and staff safe while travelling.

Other Train operators
Keep up to date with the current Covid-19 information on LNER and Cross Country trains.

Active Travel

Many of us have enjoyed spending more time outdoors over the last few months and have been travelling actively - put simply a journey where your body is physically active for example walking, cycling or wheeling.

Aside from the physical and emotional benefits of active travel, talking this option during the outbreak does help as it will reduce pressure on the road network, and on public transport, where capacity is limited.


Car Sharing

The Scottish Goverment are advising against car sharing with people outside of your own, or extended, household. Read the full car sharing advice from the Scottish Government.

The team at Liftshare have produced the following guidance: