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Authorities poised to ensure safe travel for Christmas bubbles despite urging we stay home

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson

Transport authorities are braced for increased movement around the north of Scotland next week – but the public has again been urged to consider whether they really need to travel.

Restrictions on journeys out of Level 3 areas – which now includes Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire – are to be lifted between Wednesday and next Sunday to allow people to form Christmas bubbles with family and friends.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson last night said the Scottish Government was not “encouraging” additional travel over the festive period but pressed those who took the opportunity to prepare for their journey, while promising a record number of gritters were poised to keep the country’s busiest roads safe.

British Transport Police are to up patrols on the rail network to ensure safe distancing and face coverings are worn on trains, which are expected to be busier than in recent months.

Officers will also be looking to tackle anti-social behaviour after an increase on trains across the country last month.

BTP Superintendent David Marshall said: “We would urge the public to be respectful to rail staff who have worked throughout the pandemic.

“We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour on the network and we will be increasing our visibility patrols to ensure the railway remains a safe place to travel.

“We hope the public will 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 Scottish Government, as well as complying with the requirement to wear face coverings.”

Police Scotland added a further reminder that while travel guidance would be changed across the five-day window, significant restrictions would remain in place.

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