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Coronavirus: Public transport in South Yorkshire


South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) is repeating Government advice against non-essential use of public transport, to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Public transport informationSocial distancingContactless paymentHelp for elderly and vulnerable peopleTicket refundsService Changes & updates  

Public transport information and advice


People across South Yorkshire are advised to avoid public transport, wherever possible. 

While our public transport network continues to run – allowing the region’s NHS and key workers, and people who can’t work from home, to make essential journeys – our priority is the safety of our customers and our staff. We need everyone to play their part to help people who have to travel to stay safe. 


What we are doing 

We’re working closely with bus, tram and rail companies to reassure people who need to travel that we're doing all we can to keep our customers safe and allow them to make essential journeys.

We've introduced focused cleaning regimes at all our interchanges which includes extra attention to ensure doors, handrails, lifts and ticket machines remain disinfected. Our toilets are also free until further notice to give everyone access to handwashing.

We’re introducing barriers where needed, creating separate entrance and exit points to interchanges, with separate boarding and alighting where possible along with indoor and outdoor queue management. We’re also working closely with local authorities to agree how to safely manage shared space to regulate customer numbers at interchanges and enable social distancing.

Public transport operators have stringent procedures in place to keep vehicles clean, with extra focus on common areas of customers contact. Specific measures include: increased cleaning frequency of all grab rails and poles, entrance door handles, window ledges and other touchpoints; encouraging staff to increase their handwashing frequency, and providing additional cleaning facilities to enable them to do so; displaying NHS advice on vehicle; continuing to offer contactless payment on vehicle; and exact fare only cash payments to minimise contact.

We will continue to listen to customer feedback and monitor travel patterns to make service changes where they’re needed to help customers making essential journeys to stay safe.


What we need you to do

We’re asking you not to travel unless you have to, stay local if you can and walk or cycle where possible. 

If your journey is necessary, avoid peak times and think about the routes and ways you travel, so that everyone has more space to stay safe.

If you need to use public transport, you must wear a face covering from Monday 15 June and you could be refused travel and fined if you don't. 

Please follow the government guidelines on social distancing wherever possible, both on vehicles and while waiting at bus stops or at Interchanges. 

Anyone feeling unwell with symptoms of coronavirus - a new, continuous cough, loss of sense of taste or smell, or a high temperature – should not travel, to help to protect others from infection.

Wash or use sanitiser on your hands before and after using public transport and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues. 

Your journey may take longer than normal and some routes may be busier than usual, but please be patient and considerate of staff and other customers during your journey. 

Social distancing

We’ve implemented a number of social distancing measures at our interchanges to keep you and our people safe. This includes limiting the number of team members at our customer services desks, installing screens and floor vinyls to help you move around our interchanges safely. PA systems will also share the latest government advice. Hand sanitiser is available and our toilets are free to use to ensure you can wash your hands regularly. 

You can play your part by only making essential journeys – only using public transport where there is no alternative – and keeping your distance from each other in interchanges and when queuing at bus stops. Notices and floor markers at stops will help people to stay safe. We’d also encourage you to sit apart from others on buses, trams and trains. If you can, use the upper deck on any double deck buses or take the window seat to leave more space. You should also aim to wear a face covering when you use public transport.

Bus operators in South Yorkshire are putting the following measures in place to support social distancing on board:

  • Both First and Stagecoach buses will only be allowing a limited number of people on board. Once this capacity has been reached, the bus may display a 'Bus full' board or sign. Drivers will only allow one person to board for every person that alights at stops where the bus is near capacity.
  • Asking customers to take the window seat, leave the seats in front of and behind others empty and not sit directly behind the driver. 
  • Only one person can sit in a double seat, unless they’re with a member of their household. No one should stand on the bus and passegers should use the top floor on double deckers where possible.
  • Opening all available windows to help with ventilation. 
  • Advising customers to wear a face covering if they can, and to avoid eating and drinking on board. 

Contactless payment

To minimise contact, please use contactless payment options where possible instead of cash. This includes using a preloaded smartcard, which you can load your travel ticket to at machines in our interchanges to further reduce contact. 

From Monday 18 May, if you still wish to pay by cash, you can load travel onto a TravelMaster card at one of over 900 Payzone outlets, but please only visit these when buying essentials to avoid making unnecessary journeys. If you need to pay buy cash on board, please make sure you have the exact fare to minimise contact.

Help for elderly and vulnerable people

If you or someone you know is struggling to access basic necessities, there are people across South Yorkshire who can help. 


Contact Barnsley Council’s COVID-19 emergency contact centre – can offer help for vulnerable people who need emergency support such as essential food and help with medication

Contact AgeUK Barnsley – can provide support, information and help for things like shopping. You can call them on 01226 776 820


Contact Doncaster Community Hub for Coronavirus support – can provide support with: 

• Delivery of emergency food
• Collection and delivery of medication
• Regular check-ins with people who are isolated
• Signpost and support to others who can help including local volunteers


Contact Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council – can provide support for people who have no other help for basic tasks


Contact Sheffield City Council – can provide help with collecting shopping, medication and providing social contact

Use the map on the Voluntary Action Sheffield website – find support at a local level from voluntary groups in Sheffield.

Ticket refunds due to Coronavirus

We have detailed ticket refund information below for customers who are following the Government’s advice on working from home or are self-isolating at home. 

You will need to contact the bus, tram or train operator you bought the ticket from in the first instance for help and guidance:

First Bus

First have published full refund guidance on their website - here are the options: 

Mobile tickets (mTickets) bought in the First app

Please email the mTicket support team Please include the mobile number and email address associated with your mTicket account . Alternatively, please call First directly on 0330 094 7577.

Subscription tickets

Please email and include the email address and telephone number associated with your subscription.

For tickets bought on First’s website to print at home (eTickets, e.g. airport services)

Please call: 0345 646 0707 and select option 2 then option 2.

Paper tickets

Please call 0345 646 0707 and select option 2 then option 3 or email us at:

Northern railway

For information and details of how to claim a refund please visit Northern’s website

Stagecoach Bus and Supertram

Stagecoach have published ticket refund guidance on the Stagecoach website

Please email you’ll need to include: 

• The name of the ticket and the duration
• Whether you bought in person/online/through the Stagecoach bus app
• Stagecoach smartcard number (if applicable)
• The email address linked to your Stagecoach account (if bought online/app)
• Any receipts/confirmation of the start/end date of your ticket

TransPennine Express

The latest information about how you can claim ticket refunds can be found on the TransPennine Express website 


TravelMaster have taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend all their refunds, other than those required by law, understandably due to sales declining they may not have the reserves to fund this for all customers who might ask for them. This means refunds for unused or partially used tickets are not currently available. 

Check for more information.  

Service changes and keeping up to date:


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