How busy was your commute? Trains quiet as UK returns to work

1 September 2020, 10:46

Commuters have experience both busy and empty trains on Tuesday morning
Commuters have experience both busy and empty trains on Tuesday morning. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

A mix of both busy and unusually quiet commuter trains are being reported as the Government steps up its campaign to get workers to return to offices.

Some commuters have experienced "dangerously busy" trains as they travelled back to work and teenagers head back to school, while others have claimed to be sat on completely empty carriages.

It follows a Government campaign to get workers back in offices and kids back to school, citing the significant damage empty town centres are having on the economy and businesses.

Hundreds of thousands more people are expected to gradually return to offices as the UK further eases out of lockdown following the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Friday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told LBC the government message is that "it is now safe to return to work".

"Where it is possible, people can now return to work, it is safe to do so," he said.

"Your employer should have put in Covid-friendly measures to ensure that people can work safely from their offices because there are just things which are impossible to do from home over Zoom videos as we're doing now."

"Gradually now people will start to return to the office, but I suspect we'll see more flexible working than we've seen in the past and it will be for employers and employees to work out the right balance in their particular cases."

One commuter, Martin Ricketts, said his commuter train on the London Underground would "usually be packed" but claims "people don't trust the Government" over calls to return to work.

Labour has previously criticised the plans as being "unconscionable", while the CBI said any return to work push should involve a "hybrid" approach that did not force people to return.

Labour's shadow business minister Lucy Powell said: "It beggars belief that the government are threatening people like this during a pandemic. Forcing people to choose between their health and their job is unconscionable.

"Number 10 should condemn this briefing and categorically rule out any such campaign."