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Train to the Highlands - Lockdown madness

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 ogreville 29 Jul 2020

Was considering an overnight mountain camp/walk in the highlands via train (no car available). I was reluctant to start with and wasn't sure on the current travel rules for public transport, so did a bit of study. I've decided against it and I'm less than impressed with the guidance available.

Transport Scotland states - "The public transport system continues to be limited in capacity due to physical distancing and lower service provision. Therefore please think carefully about whether you need to use public transport for your holiday travel."

Scotrail website says - "....public transport should be used by those making necessary journeys only.....". But they also told me on the phone ".....it is entirely up to you if you want to....but Scottish government guidelines are recommending that you only travel for essential purposes".

I can't believe the lack of definitive guidance. This weak nonsense just opens it up for people to shrug their shoulders and do whatever the hell they want. 

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In reply to ogreville:

> I can't believe the lack of definitive guidance. This weak nonsense just opens it up for people to shrug their shoulders and do whatever the hell they want. 

What do you want them to do?
Vet everyone before they travel to see if they should/could?
The guidelines seem quite clear: Is your journey necessary?
Doesn't seem that difficult to me.

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 Rob Parsons 29 Jul 2020
In reply to ogreville:

> ... but Scottish government guidelines are recommending that you only travel for essential purposes".

> I can't believe the lack of definitive guidance.

I don't see the problem. Why not take the guidance of the Scottish government?

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 AJM79 29 Jul 2020
In reply to ogreville:

Seems like you're looking for a problem. You wanted to travel and they were going to let you, what's the problem?

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 peppermill 29 Jul 2020
In reply to ogreville:

I don't understand what the problem is here? Scotrail not providing specific guidance for a fairly niche trip?

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In reply to peppermill:

I think they are saying, and I agree with this, that it should be clear.  For example:-

"You must only use public transport for a necessary journey, for example to work where you cannot work from home, to assist a friend or relative in need of support for medical reasons or similar.  You must not use it for a leisure journey as these are by definition not necessary"

or

"If it is possible to use other modes of transport for your journey, for example car, cycle or walk, you must do this.  Only use public transport if those options are not workable for your journey, for example you do not own a car or it is too far to cycle or walk"

or

"You may use public transport if you wish provided you maintain social distancing and wear a mask unless exempt"

The guidance actually given is insubstantive waffle.

Post edited at 18:22
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 fmck 29 Jul 2020
In reply to ogreville:

Ffs whats not clear.

RECOMMENDING= ITS UP TO YOU BUT ITS NOT RISK FREE. 

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 ogreville 29 Jul 2020
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Vet everyone before they travel to see if they should/could?

No, this is not practical and unfair on rail staff to police. The public need to take responsibility, but need clear guidance. i.e. “you are not permitted to use public transport for holidays” or “you are allowed to use public transport for holidays”. I know some may find this too controlling but I think it is necessary. The array of constant rule changes in Scotland is mind boggling.

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 ogreville 29 Jul 2020
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> I don't see the problem. Why not take the guidance of the Scottish government?

I am. I have chosen not to travel as I dont want to put others at risk. I just find it interesting that some of the guidance says “dont” and other guidance says “we d prefer if you didnt, but its your choice”

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 ogreville 29 Jul 2020
In reply to fmck:

> Ffs whats not clear.

> RECOMMENDING= ITS UP TO YOU BUT ITS NOT RISK FREE. 


The issue I have is with it being a recommendation. It should be a clear and definitive green light or red light for leisure/holiday travel on public transport, just like masks in shops or quarantine if symptomatic. 
Perhaps my original post was a little off my point. I  think the SG and Scotrail are being too non-commital. It would help everyone out if they were clearer. Theyre probably being intentionally wooly to stop the tourist industry from kicking up a fuss. 

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In reply to ogreville:

'Rules are for the guidance of wise men & the obedience of fools' (quote/saying of origin unknown to me)

Guidance isn't definitive (eg guide prices), but you seem to want rules.......

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 ogreville 29 Jul 2020
In reply to buxtoncoffeelover:

> 'Rules are for the guidance of wise men & the obedience of fools' (quote/saying of origin unknown to me)

Im def the latter!

> Guidance isn't definitive (eg guide prices), but you seem to want rules.......

Yeah, in these unprecedented times clear rules are better than guidance. Thats my thought anyway.

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 girlymonkey 29 Jul 2020
In reply to ogreville:

> I just find it interesting that some of the guidance says “dont” and other guidance says “we d prefer if you didnt, but its your choice”

Neither is saying "do"! Both have a distinctly negative impression to them. Make of that what you will.

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In reply to ogreville:

> No, this is not practical and unfair on rail staff to police. The public need to take responsibility, but need clear guidance. i.e. “you are not permitted to use public transport for holidays” or “you are allowed to use public transport for holidays”. I know some may find this too controlling but I think it is necessary. The array of constant rule changes in Scotland is mind boggling.

How do you expect the Government to hold your hand while still maintaining Social Distancing? 📏😷😀

 

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 daftdazza 29 Jul 2020
In reply to ogreville:

Ignore the website and use the train, the more people who start reusing it and paying money the better long term.  

Train use seems to be getting back close to normal in some areas, with local services in Glasgow quite busy, and I know the Edinburgh to north Berwick train will be rammed this weekend with the good weather, not really a bad thing as the town is suffering from serious over crowding with car use at minute.  Main problem with trains just now is they are doing no ticket inspection so the trains are effectively free, can't be sustainable much longer, but I think services are to get close to normal from next week so hopefully this will change, other problem on busy trains is a lot of people are not wearing mask, but can usually find enough space away from people and get windows open etc.  

I imagine highland services are quite busy at minute, but I am sure this problem will ease as services get back to normal,

Will probably find the messaging from ScotRail changing soon, one positive from this is it will be hard to see how the Scottish government could let ScotRail go back into private ownership post covid.

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