Transportation Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic


With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing worldwide, many travelers are concerned as to the safest way to travel during day-to-day life.The information below offers guidance on how to mitigate against the risks associated with COVID-19 when utilizing public transportation, as well as the benefits of certain means of travel. The measures should be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, instructions given by your local government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

General Tips

Here are general practices that should be carried out when traveling on any form of public transportation:

  • If you are traveling on any form of public transportation, the earliest departures during the day are best, since airplanes, trains, and buses are more likely to be heavily disinfected overnight.
  • Carry additional masks/face coverings, gloves, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol).
  • On an airplane or train, wipe down your immediate area, including armrests, seat backs, tray tables, seatbelts, air vents, window shades, light controls, etc.
  • In a rental car, wipe down ‘touch points’ such as steering wheel, gear shift, door/window/seat handles and controls, seatbelts, mirrors, radio and control knobs, visors, etc.
  • Additional time should also be budgeted on when traveling on public transport due to delays.


Travel by Car

According to numerous studies, travel by car during the pandemic is one of the safest means of transportation due to the controlled risk of infection. This is primarily because you are in control of the individuals that enter the vehicle. When traveling with passengers, it is advised that they are members of your household, or someone you know to have a low risk of infection, such as someone who lives alone with limited contact with others. Additionally, when traveling by car you also have the option to travel alone, lowering the risk significantly in comparison to other modes of transport.

However, there are associated risks when traveling by car. Additional stops during the journey are often made (stops for fuel being an example) which will increase the risk of exposure. The CDC warns that making stops along the way for gas, food, or bathroom breaks can put you and your traveling companions in close contact with other people and surfaces.

Rental cars offer another layer of risk as they are driven by multiple people throughout the day. However, most reputable providers offer a guarantee that their vehicles have been both cleaned and heavily sanitized between rentals, with social distancing measures adhered to upon check-ins.


Travel by Air

onboard an airplane, social distancing may be difficult, depending on the airline's policy. To mitigate this risk, travelers should fly with airlines that make it compulsory for the middle seats on the plane to be blocked from purchase.

The CDC has stated that ‘most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes.’ However, it is worth noting that this is only the case during the flight, and the risk of exposure during transit to and from the gate depends heavily on the airports’ and airlines’ policies as well as the safety precautions that you take.


Travel by Train or Bus

The risk of traveling via public transport, such as train or bus networks, can vary dependent on whether you live in a country/area with a dense working population. However, generally, these modes of transportation offer a happy medium regarding the risk of exposure to the virus during transit. Many stations are outdoors and with fewer bottlenecks for check-in, at least in comparison to airports. Additionally, many bus or train operators will have a limited capacity for service and this allows seats to be left empty so that social distancing measures can be practiced.


This document is written by GardaWorld.


Posted: 4/2/2021 3:48:59 PM