Can I drive during the lockdown? Your transport questions, answered

The Government does not want any unnecessary car journeys – you should use buses and taxis only when making an essential journey

On Monday, Boris Johnson said that people should only leave their homes for 'essential' trips.

Public transport is still running across the country, but to scaled timetables. This is partly due to the huge drop in demand caused by the majority of the country now staying at home. However, the Government is helping maintain transport services so key workers can get to work. People have been told to not use public transport, unless it cannot be avoided to make an essential journey and then they are advised to practise social distancing and keep trips to a minimum.

People can use their cars to make these essential trips, but must abide by social distancing rules meaning they should only be in a vehicle by themselves or with a member of their household.

Q: Can I drive during lockdown?

A: Under Government rules cars can be used, but only for essential journeys such as to buy food or medicine. If you are making a car journey, Public Health England says that people should drive alone or only with other members of their household. People with any symptoms of coronavirus or who are self-isolating should not be making any journeys.

Q: What transport is running?

A: Most public transport is still running, albeit with scaled down services. This is mainly so critical workers, such as doctors and nurses, can continue to work. From Monday, train operators started running new timetables with about half the normal services running. The same is happening for buses, with operators saying they are running reduced services due to the falling demand and urging people to check revised timetables online before travelling.

Q: The guidance says car showrooms will close – but garages can stay open;  how does this affect cars with warranties that need to be serviced or need MoTs?

A: The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders says that warranty policies are specific to different car manufacturers and recommends that owners contact their individual manufacturers to see how the lockdown affects their policy.

Q: I need an MoT, can I leave my house to get an MoT?

A: Last week, the Government announced it was suspending MoTs for lorries buses and trailers for three months from March 21, due to the pandemic. In the meantime, owners will be issued with a three-month certificate of temporary exemption (CTE), but were told to ensure their vehicles were kept roadworthy.

The Department said it is currently reviewing whether to continue MoT testing for cars, motorbikes and vans and is yet to make an announcement. At the moment it is unclear as to whether getting an MoT test counts as an essential journey under the lockdown rules.

Q: Are Uber drivers key workers?

A: The Department for Transport said that taxi drivers are not automatically considered critical workers, but can be considered for the status on a case-by-case basis. This is if they are helping other critical workers with home to school journeys for their children or driving vulnerable passengers.

Q: Can I use the bus to get to the supermarket?

A: Government advice is to avoid using public transport unless there is no other choice when making an essential journey. Public Health England advises that people try first to have food shops delivered to their homes.

However, if there is no other way for people to make an essential journey the advice is to practice social distancing while waiting for an on public transport like buses, to use contactless payments where possible and to wash your hands thoroughly when you get home.

Public Health England also advises that if people have no other option but to use public transport for shopping they should try to limit the number of trips they do. People with any symptoms of coronavirus or who are self-isolating should not use public transport at all.