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COVID-19 FAQs

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Please find further information and frequently asked questions below. If you have a question that isn't answered here, please contact us through our social media channels (Twitter and Facebook).

Check amended timetables here and plan your journey.

What is the latest travel advice?

Due to the worsening spread of coronavirus, please follow government advice and only travel for work (if essential) or for other legally permitted reasons.

Click here to check the legally permitted reasons for travel. 

If you are travelling please follow the government-issued travel advice below:

  • Avoid peak travel if you can (between 07:00-09:30 and 16:00-18:30)
  • Allow extra time for your journey
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times at stations or on trains, unless exempt. Maximum fines of £6,400 can be issued by British Transport Police for those refusing to comply
  • Use contactless payments where possible
  • Wash or sanitise hands as soon as possible before and after travel
  • Remain seated where you can
  • Maintain social distancing where possible
  • Follow advice from staff and be considerate to other passengers
  • Do not use public transport if you, or a member of your household, has COVID-19 symptoms or you have been instructed to self-isolate.
  • Aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.

Click here for full details of our current timetable.

To read the complete government advice on travel in England click here.

Will this timetable change again?

As the situation is continually changing, it is possible that this timetable may change again in the future. We advise all passengers to check our website and Twitter account @merseyrail before travel for the most up-to-date information.

Is help still being provided – such as Passenger Assist?

We remain able to provide assistance to those that need it, however, in these circumstances we’d advise passengers to contact our dedicated Assisted Travel team in advance to ensure their journey is as smooth as possible.

Customers requiring assistance with travel should not notice any difference in terms of the level of support provided when they travel with us, however staff will be wearing face coverings when assisting passengers unless exempt.

You can find more information and contact details here.

What extra measures have you put in place to keep me safe?

We are doing as much as we can to keep our staff and passengers safe by following government guidance.

We are cleaning trains and stations throughout the day, every day, using our specialist antimicrobial multi-surface cleaners. We are also putting up more signs to encourage people to socially distance. We are minimising queues at ticket offices by encouraging people to use contactless payments where they can. We are maximising space by running more trains and carriages to make extra room for social distancing.

It may not be possible to socially distance at all points throughout a journey, so we are asking people to follow government guidance and wear a face covering whilst travelling unless exempt. From the 15 June it is compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport, both in stations and on trains. £6,400 maximum fine applies.

If you have any queries please ask a member of our stations team who will be happy to help. 

Is contactless just encouraged or now the only way to pay?

We are strongly encouraging everyone that needs to purchase a ticket to help us to reduce unnecessary contact by making a contactless payment where possible.

If people need to use cash, we ask that they buy tickets from ticket machines if possible.

How do I get a refund on my monthly/annual/term-time Railpass?

Full details of claiming a refund can be found here: /tickets-passes/refunds.aspx.

Can NHS workers still travel for free?

The Liverpool City Region’s free NHS travel scheme was one of the first to be launched, and one of the last to be brought to an end. From Monday 13th July NHS workers need to purchase a ticket to travel. We continue to be extremely grateful for the hard work that NHS workers have done in keeping us safe during this pandemic.

What are the current rules around concessionary travel?

If you are 65 years old or over, you cannot use your pass between the hours of 06:29 and 09:31.

The restrictions were temporarily lifted to assist elderly passengers to access supermarkets at specific times. However, with the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, we have reinstated the restrictions to reduce demand during peak times and ensure the safety of our passengers as more industries return to work.

Those with a concessionary pass for people with disabilities are not affected by this change.

If you are travelling to get a Covid vaccination you will be allowed to travel between 6:30 and 9:30 on weekdays with a concessionary pass. This exception is dependent on being able to provide evidence that you are travelling to a vaccination appointment. 

 

Are waiting rooms, ticket offices and toilets still open?

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic we did close waiting rooms across our network, however these are now open with social distancing measures in place.

Ticket offices and toilet facilities are also now open. Where ticket offices need to temporarily close this will be highlighted on the relevant station website page. 

Will they have hand sanitiser that I can use?

We encourage people to carry their own hand sanitiser where possible, however they are available to purchase in our Mtogo stores. We also ask people to follow government advice to avoid contact where possible and for people to wash their hands for 20 seconds before and after travelling.

Are Merseyrail tickets still being accepted on buses in the Liverpool City Region?

As our trains returned to more normal operating hours from Monday 18 May, Merseyrail tickets will no longer be accepted on buses in the Liverpool City Region after 19:00 from this date.

What are you doing to maximise social distancing on trains?

We are doing as much as we can to keep our staff and passengers safe by following government guidance.

Passengers are asked to listen to and follow on-train announcements and adhere to social distancing guidance on board the train, such as leaving seats around other passengers free.

However, it may not be possible to socially distance at all times on the Merseyrail network so face coverings must be worn at all times.

Please note: we do not operate a seat reservation system on our network.

How do I know which trains will be busy and what do I do if the train I want to travel on is full?

Our busiest trains are currently those around the peak time periods of 07.00-09.30 and 16.00-18.30 Monday to Friday. If you are travelling, please travel on a quieter train and avoid these periods. You should bear in mind that some trains may also be busier at other times so we would advise passengers to plan ahead and leave extra time for their journey as you may choose not to board a train and wait for the next if a train is full.

If you do board a busy train, please be advised that you must adhere to social distancing guidance wherever possible. Alternatively, please wait for the next service.

Please ensure you have alternative transport plans if you wish to travel on the last train of the day, as it may be full and you may feel unable to board.

Why do I have to wait longer for connections during the revised timetable?

In making changes to the timetable, our planning team have had to balance the needs of our customers, taking into account where and when most passengers board and alight our services.

We will of course ensure that any passenger comments are included as part of any future review of the timetable arrangements in line with the changing nature of the pandemic.

 Face Covering FAQs

What is the government guidance on wearing face coverings?

Government guidance states that face coverings must be worn at all times when travelling on public transport at all points during the journey. On the Merseyrail network passengers must wear a face covering unless exempt from the point of entering the grounds of a station, until exiting the network, as it may not be possible to socially distance at all times. Failure to comply may result in a fine of upto £6400. More information on the government guidance can be found here.

Do I need to wear a face covering? If so where do I get one? Will a scarf do?

The government has announced that passengers must wear a face covering while using public transport from Monday 15 June. From this date all customers travelling on Merseyrail must wear a face covering both within our stations and on our trains. This is because it may not be possible to socially distance at all points throughout a journey. A maximum £6,400 fine applies.

You should visit www.gov.uk for the latest guidance on masks and coverings. We do have a range of masks for sale at all staffed ticket offices, however we do expect most passengers to bring their own.

What happens if I do not have a face covering with me?

We are confident that the vast majority of people are going to want to do the right thing and help protect others by bringing a face covering and wearing it while in stations and on trains.

If you are seen by railway staff without a face covering during your journey or refuse to wear one whilst travelling with us, you will be politely reminded about the need to do so. 

Anyone not wearing a face covering who isn't exempt is liable to receive a £200 fine for a first offence which will double at each offence with a maximum fine of £6,400 from the British Transport Police.

Face coverings are widely available online and we would advise customers to purchase one before they travel with us. We do have a range of masks for sale at all staffed ticket offices, however we do expect most passengers to bring their own.

I have a medical condition that means I cannot wear a face covering, can I still travel?

We know that some passengers have illnesses or disabilities that prevent them from wearing a face covering. These include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Conditions affecting dexterity
  • Mental health conditions such as anxiety or panic disorders
  • Autism
  • Dementia
  • Visual impairments or with a restricted field of vision
  • Anyone reliant on lip reading – including companions or carers for whom a face covering would impede their ability to communicate

In line with government guidance (which can be found here) you will still be able to travel without the need for a covering but should continue to follow all social distancing guidance and hygiene measures where you can do so.

You may still be approached by a member of our team and asked why you are not wearing a face covering. You may choose to use one of our face covering exemption cards which you can show to a member of staff when necessary.

More information on face covering exemption cards is available here

I am travelling with children, do they need to wear face coverings?

Children under the age of 11 do not have to wear face coverings but may of course do so, should they wish to.

I need to drink something or make myself understood more clearly when speaking to your staff, can I remove my face mask to do so?

Current government rules make clear that passengers will also be able to remove their face covering for a short period of time for any reasonable reason.

Will railway staff be wearing face coverings?

Our team will be wearing face coverings where appropriate. In line with government guidance our ticket office staff, located behind glass will not need to wear a covering, nor will drivers or guards when they are alone in their compartments on train. Please bear in mind that some staff may also have medical conditions or disabilities that mean they can’t wear one.

I’ve seen someone breaking the rules and not wearing a face covering, what do I do? Do I need to tell you? Should I confront them myself?

We are continuing to ask that passengers act in a respectful manner towards each other and our staff at all times whilst travelling with us. We are confident that the vast majority of people are going to want to do the right thing and help protect others by bringing a face covering and wearing it while in stations and on trains.

If our team see a customer without a face covering, our staff will engage, explain, and encourage them to wear a face mask. We have processes in place to deal with such circumstances. If you do have any concerns, please do speak to a member of staff in the first instance.

Please do not confront other passengers who are not wearing a face covering. Please be aware that some passengers may not be able to wear a mask due to a medical condition. Regardless of whether someone is wearing a mask, people should keep their distance – at least two metres, if possible.

What extra measures have you put in place to keep me safe?

We are cleaning trains and stations throughout the day, every day for those that need to travel focusing on specialist cleaning products alongside our multi-surface cleaners that are used throughout the day. We are also putting up more signs to encourage people to socially distance. We are minimising queues at ticket offices by encouraging people to use contactless payments where they can. We are maximising space by running more trains and carriages to make extra room for social distancing.

It may not be possible to socially distance at all points throughout a journey, so we are asking people to follow government guidance and wear a face covering whilst travelling. From Monday 15 June it is compulsory to wear a face covering whilst in train stations or onboard trains.