Transport for London wants to return public transport service levels to normal “as soon as possible”. The action will make social distancing easier as Covid-19 restrictions ease.
The Government’s instruction for people in sectors such as construction and manufacturing to return to work this week has resulted in more people using the capital’s transport networks.
TfL said “public transport should be avoided wherever possible”. It wants to keep demand on buses and the Tube to 85 per cent below normal.
Up to this week, Tube patronage was depressed by 95 per cent and bus patronage by 85 per cent.
TfL said it would “return the number of buses and trains running to as close to 100 per cent as soon as possible”. It has been operating up to 60 per cent of Tube services and more than 80 per cent of bus services.
“TfL is working closely with staff and the trade unions with the intention of, by 18 May, increasing service levels to around 85 per cent on the bus network, at least 70 per cent on the Tube and London Overground (in line with national rail services), 80 per cent on the DLR and a full service on TfL Rail.”
Some of the 37 Tube stations that have been closed for several weeks are to reopen, though some will remain closed, including stations with lift-only access to platforms because two metre social distancing is not possible.
TfL said the two-metre social distancing guideline meant that only around 13-15 per cent of the normal number of passengers on the Tube and bus networks can be carried, even when 100 per cent of services are operating.
Two metre floor markings have been installed on platforms at stations. Hand sanitizer points will start to be introduced across the transport network over the coming weeks.
London Travelwatch said this week that TfL was planning to put in place queueing systems outside stations where practical and necessary.
“TfL say it is impractical for their staff to enforce social distancing guidelines and admit that with the capacity constraints they face, there will be times when social distancing is simply not possible,” said the passenger watchdog. “TfL told us that it will be up to customers to decide if a train is too full.”
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