CORONAVIRUS AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT – how to stay safe

page 2 of our COVID-19 Public Transportation Guide

COVID-19 TRANSMISSION

Planes, trains, taxis, buses and airports can be ideal environments for droplet-spread diseases such as COVID-19 to be transmitted between people. The COVID-19 virus is thought to be spread principally via droplets expelled when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People may directly inhale those droplets or droplets may land on shared surfaces. In transport systems it is near impossible to avoid touching shared surfaces. With a large amount of intermingling individuals, the potential for transmission is high. People catch the virus when they touch their infected hands to their face –something we all do about 20 to 30 times an hour.

BUS AND FERRY

To the extent possible, try to avoid traveling through mass transport systems at peak hours.
If you rely upon the bus to commute to the office, then talk to your supervisor about starting earlier or later to avoid periods, when these systems may be most congested. Consider taking a different bus, which may be less crowded.

When traveling on buses be conscious of the high touch areas such as those circled in red: specifically guards and door handles. While you need to use these for safety and practical reasons, try to avoid touching your face until you have had the opportunity to wash your hands. If possible, carry and use an alcohol based hand sanitizer while using public transport.

TAXI AND RIDE SHARING

Using taxis and ride sharing during a potential COVID-19 outbreak should be relatively safer than using public systems as the level of exposure to other travellers is much reduced. However there is still a risk from touching common surfaces such as door handles, seats, seatbelts, etc. If you can, sit directly behind the taxi driver as you will be less exposed to droplets should the driver cough or sneeze.

AIRPORTS

When moving through airports be aware of the high touch areas, which may harbour viruses, such as those highlighted to the right. These include luggage trays, finger-print scanners and cases on luggage carousels.

Security checks are thought to be the highest risk areas in airports. Avoid touching the trays, which often have lingering viruses and bacteria on them and wash/disinfect your hands after security check. Other hotspots include: Hand rails on escalators, arm rest of waiting area seats and the constant passing of tickets and passports to airline and security staff is also likely to present some risk. Bring and regularly use a container less than 100ml of alcohol based hand sanitiser, while passing through airports.

PLANES

As you might be aware confined cabins of planes pose a risk of catching viruses – but mostly for the wrong reasons. Most studies suggest it is not the recycled cabin air that poses the greatest risk (it passes through sophisticated filters) but the droplets spread by passengers and cabin staff moving up and down the main aisles. A study by scientists at Emory University in the United States found that an infected air steward could become a ‘super-spreader’ as they constantly move up and own the plane. It concluded that the best place to sit was in the middle of the plane in a window seat to escape this particular risk. You enhance your chances of remaining free of infection by staying in your seat for the duration of the flight. If you can’t get a window seat, second best is a middle seat rather than an aisle.

WALK IF YOU CAN

Walking is likely to be safer than any other transport option, as it will probably be much less congested than the confined spaces of buses and planes. Regular exercise of at least 150 minutes a week also protects you from heart and other vascular disease – a much bigger risk to your health than coronavirus in the long run.

CARnival – Collaboration with the Gabriel Caruana Foundation

The short of it:
The Gabriel Caruana Foundation, in collaboration with PAF is organising a four-day workshop at The Mill with the aim of introducing children to the art of papier-mâché, artivism and pedestrian rights.

More details:
We’ll be mixing the craft of papier-mâché with an ongoing need to reclaim public space, with a peppering of activism and a good measure of creativity!

The Mill will open its doors to 15 participants where they will be introduced to papier-mâché, artivism, carnival and Maltese Modern artists. We will engage with participants to air and sketch their views on sustainable mobility, pedestrian rights and solutions to everyday problems encountered whilst walking. Each participant will express themselves by creating a papier-mâché mask or sculpture. We will finish off the workshop with a mini parade together with parents along the street.

This carnival workshop is part of a wider process that the Gabriel Caruana Foundation is undertaking where we are exploring the links of art and cultural heritage.

Big Steps – little footprints – Rethinking Transport 2

For this month’s Big Steps, Little Footprints post, we’re featuring Jennifer Zammit from The Public Transport Project (Malta). Below she shares what inspired her to change the way she travels.

“After attending last year’s protest against the Central Link Project, it got me thinking that surely we could find many, more sustainable ways to reduce the ridiculous amount of traffic on these tiny islands, opposed to bulldozing through precious agricultural land and destroying hundreds of mature trees. Although the project left me feeling angry and helpless initially, I turned my attention inwards and asked “what could I do to reduce my car use?”

Instead of casually reaching for my car keys, I took some time to think about the alternatives and started using our Public Transport system. This is how the FB page The Public Transport Project was born. Through this page and more importantly, its members, navigating the Public Transport system became simpler and supported my mission to keep using it.

My conscious decision to use and seek alternatives to the car, not only influenced how I travel but also how I organise daily life. Moving locality made commuting by bus more challenging, hence I made several lifestyle choices in order to travel less and more efficiently, mainly by keeping my activities, work and school local and within walking distance. By making use of other services such as having my monthly groceries delivered and grouping weekly errands, I have reduced my car use by more than half and make the most out of every car trip.

Although I won’t be handing over my car keys any time soon, if we all took a conscious look at the casual way in which we use our cars, we could really make a difference to our environment and air quality.”

Pedestrians! Go, go, go

Being a pedestrian is a powerful thing. Walking changes the face of communities, saves money and time, increases productivity and public safety.

Walking – something so simple yet so effective and an act many of us do several times over the course of the day. We’re all walking somewhere at one point or another without giving it much thought. This makes walking the most accessible “active” mode of transport available. It’s literally at the tips of our toes!

The health benefits of walking are numerous, from the famous “walk 30 minutes a day” to prevent a sedentary lifestyle and reduce risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, to improving the air quality in your community by lessening air and noise pollution through reduced car use and traffic congestion. There are no downsides to when it comes to using your legs to get from A to B!

PAF is planning a collaboration with the Gabriel Caruana Foundation on pedestrian rights. Stay tuned for more!

Big Steps, little footprints – Rethinking Transport – 1

We are happy to start off the new year with our “Big Steps, little footprints – Rethinking Transport” post that will bring you regular entertaining tidbits related to sustainable mobility, carbon and conscious living.

Transport comes into play throughout our daily lives in many ways. It is not just about moving from one location to another; it’s also how we move around as single individuals, as a family unit, for pleasure, for work or for errands… Moreover, transport also requires a bird-eye view to understand how people move as a city, a locality and as a nation. Transport also significantly ties into our consumption habits, whether it be food, entertainment and other commodities. Rethinking transport therefore becomes synonymous with rethinking one’s lifestyle, to improve not only ‘the traffic situation’ but also quality of life of oneself, others and the environment.

As our first post, we decided to feature a collaboration between a sailing cargo company and a chocolate manufacturer that led to sailing one ship full of cocoa from Nicaragua to Hamburg using wind power alone! This emission free journey was made possible through Zotter joining forces with Brigantes – a cargo company that uses only sail-powered shipping, resulting in a sailing cargo ship docking in Hamburg for the first time in 20 years.

Check them out at https://www.brigantes.eu/en/sail-cargo/#

Let us know your thoughts!