ZetTrans has encouraged folk to “make responsible choices around using public transport” as Scotland moves into phase one of easing lockdown restrictions.
The transport partnership said it understood that public transport was the only means of travel to visit friends and family for some, but urged people to “avoid using buses or ferries unless absolutely necessary”.
Shetlanders can now travel a short distance for outdoor leisure and exercise within their local area following a Scottish government announcement on Thursday.
No fixed distance has been set in law but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon advised people not travel further than five miles for recreation.
— BridgeEndOutdoor (@burraoutdoors) May 30, 2020
Some in Shetland are lucky enough to live five miles away from spots such as Minn Beach in Burra, with Bridge End Outdoor Centre sharing this picture of the beach on a sunny Friday morning.
People can also meet with another household outside with social distancing but should not meet with more than one household at a time and keep it to less than eight people.
ZetTrans said that while the government’s message “remains very clearly ‘stay at home’”, there had been some easing of the guidance around visiting family or other households.
Passengers are expected to wear a face covering when using public transport, the transport organisation said.
Minor changes to public transport timetables, which focus on ferry services initially, will come into effect from Monday 1st June.
These are principally aimed at continuing to support essential travel by key workers, ZetTrans said, and the reopening of some workplaces.
There was likely to be additional pressure on buses, particularly around peak times, according to ZetTrans, “so anyone who must travel should avoid these times if possible”.
Chairman of ZetTrans and the council’s environment and transport committee Ryan Thomson said: “We must emphasise that the changes announced by the First Minister [on Thursday] amount to a very slight amendment to lockdown conditions, and our public transport continues to focus on support for those who must travel.
“All of us want to visit friends and family after such a lengthy period of lockdown, but we’d continue to ask you to stay at home as much as possible, and to be patient as we slowly move towards a more normal situation. We have to maintain safe distancing at all times on our buses and ferries, and this is a particular issue on buses where the number of passengers able to travel will be much more limited than normal.
“This is only Phase 1 of the government’s route map out of lockdown, and we are planning for what any future changes may mean for public transport. We will obviously keep the public informed as we move forward, but in the meantime I’d like to ask folk to please be patient, stay at home if possible, and make responsible choices around using public transport.”