Yesterday the Mayor of London released a statement regarding tube services. TfL’s early-morning data suggests that Tube travel is down by an additional third compared to the day before and bus travel down by an additional 20 per cent. Tube ridership was already 88 per cent down on Tuesday 24th March, compared to the same day last year and bus ridership 76 per cent down.
Nearly a third of TfL’s staff are now off sick or self-isolating – including train drivers and crucial control centre staff. Many of them have years of safety-critical training in order to run specific lines – so it is simply not possible to replace them with others.
TfL are taking targeted measures to control the flow of passengers at the stations that remain the busiest. This includes reducing the flow at the gate lines with the support of the 500 British Transport Police who are now deployed across the rail network, opening different routes to platforms and turning off down escalators to slow the flow of people to platforms.
Transport for London have also emailed 4.5 million passengers telling them not to use public transport unless absolutely necessary, and have increased signage and public announcements at key stations – including translating them into 13 languages.
TfL commented: “We are continuing to communicate the message that people should not use public transport unless absolutely necessary and to explain to those who are key workers and therefore whose journeys are absolutely essential, that the busiest times are 05:45-07:30 and 16:00-17:30. If possible they may want to avoid travelling at these times, particularly on certain parts of the network, as there may be some disruption to their journey.”