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Covid: Rail numbers plummeted by up to 90% last weekend

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Rail passenger numbers in Scotland plummeted by up to 90% during the first weekend of tough new Covid restrictions.

First Bus also confirmed the numbers using its services were down 42% on the previous weekend.

Transport Scotland said car traffic over the weekend was 27% lower than 14 and 15 November.

Since Friday, more that two million people across 11 council areas have been under a level four lockdown.

This means that, by law, they must only leave their own council boundaries if they have to make an essential journey.

During her daily media briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon thanked people in level four areas of western and central Scotland for respecting the new measures, which took effect from 18:00 on Friday.

She said: "The anecdotal evidence is that people did comply with these rules.

"Level four restrictions are hard for individuals and businesses but we do believe that they are necessary and they will have an impact if people abide by them."

ScotRail has been generally operating at just 20% of its pre-Covid numbers since March, a picture it says has remained consistent across the country.

But over Saturday and Sunday passenger numbers were as low as 10 to 15% of normal levels.

The operator said one of the most heavily-impacted routes was the popular Glasgow to Edinburgh service.

A spokesman said: "We are pretty much back to providing a key worker service, particularly in level four areas."

Bus figures

First Bus said its figures were now "just slightly higher" than the lockdown in March.

Transport Scotland said that compared with the same weekend in 2019, car traffic was down 44%.

Data from the national transport agency also revealed that, compared with the previous weekend:

  • Car traffic between level four areas - down 49%
  • Car traffic between level four areas and lower level areas - down 37%
  • Cross border car traffic - down 13%
  • Concessionary bus journeys - down 19%
  • Rail passenger journeys - down 57%
  • Glasgow Subway passenger journeys - down 66%

Police Scotland is expected to publish updated enforcement figures for the weekend on Friday.

The new travel restrictions also apply to the 11 areas currently in level three.

From Tuesday, East Lothian will be moved to level two but similar plans for Midlothian have been put on hold due to Covid infection levels in the area.

The stricter level four rules apply to 2.3 million people across East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire, North and South Lanarkshire, East and South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

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