Transport for Wales will use extra staff across its network this weekend following a rise in anti-social behaviour.
Passenger numbers have been increasing since the end of the ‘firebreak’ in Wales on Monday 9 November, particularly during evenings and weekends.
With shoppers travelling into cities and towns to take advantage of pre-Christmas sales and rugby fans visiting pubs to watch Wales play England on Saturday, footfall is expected to increase.
TfW and British Transport Police are urging people to plan ahead, check travel advice and make use of the recently-launched Capacity Checker to avoid busy periods.
Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates said: “I want to thank the vast majority of people who are travelling on our trains responsibly – as well as the Transport for Wales’ staff and the British Transport Police who make sure all passengers get to their destinations and back home safely.
“Physically distancing ourselves from other people where possible and wearing face coverings, unless exempt, will help suppress this awful virus.”
Last weekend almost 200 members of the public were refused travel by TfW staff for not wearing a face covering, anti-social behaviour or for being unfit to travel.
More than 2,000 people across the network had to be asked to put on a face covering, which is a legal requirement on all public transport in Wales.
Leyton Powell, TfW safety and assurance director said: “The Wales and borders network is one of the safest in the UK, thanks to the hard work of TfW and BTP staff and the responsible behaviour of the vast majority of our passengers.
“As passenger numbers have grown in recent weeks, unfortunately we’ve also seen a small rise in anti-social behaviour and people failing to comply with the rules around face coverings.
“We want to reassure our customers we have deployed extra staff on trains and stations, especially on weekends, helping to keep everyone using our network safe.
“As we enter the Christmas period we are introducing even further measures to help people who may be unable to travel as a result of excess alcohol. This includes respite for vulnerable people, staff able to offer water and the use of rest areas until they are safe to travel.”
BTP Chief Inspector Jon Cooze said: “Our officers and PCSOs will continue patrolling the rail network, supporting rail staff in engaging with passengers about the importance of maintaining social distancing and reminding those who are travelling to wear face coverings.
“We urge the public to continue to act responsibly and play their part in helping to protect themselves, and each other, by following the guidance and restrictions set out by the Government, as well as complying with the requirement to wear face coverings.”
Further advice on travel can be found at www.trc.cymru/travel-safer