TfL staff demand London Mayor gets grip on packed Tube amid coronavirus lockdown

24 March 2020, 10:36

Tube trains were packed full despite the UK going into lockdown
Tube trains were packed full despite the UK going into lockdown. Picture: Twitter/Richard Gray
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Key workers travelling to their jobs on the first day of the UK lockdown have said they are "furious" to see London Underground trains still packed full.

It comes after London Mayor Sadiq Khan agreed to reduce services on the lines, meaning more people are packed onto single carriages - a contradiction to the government's distancing guidelines on Covid-19.

Julia Harris, who was commuting to Imperial College NHS Trust, said the reduced services meant "you now have more people waiting and piling onto tubes and trains".

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Travelling on Tuesday morning, she said she found the District Line to be busy even after changing her timings and route.

"Seats on the train all had at least one person so people needed to stand, and the District Line was busy as well," she said.

"I don't think things are improved as a large amount of people are commuting early in the morning.

"It is concerning because I have to come to work. The choice isn't there and my commute is quite long.

"I worry for my health more on my commute than actually being in the hospital."

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Meanwhile, another nurse Paul Trevatt criticised the "selfishness of other people" during his commute on the Victoria Line, and tagged Transport for London, health secretary Matt Hancock and Mr Khan.

"Please measure footfall in tubes and exits and entrances, and if it hasn't changed, a lockdown isn't working," he wrote.

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Tube driver Richard Gray said he was "furious" as he shared video of a choc-a-bloc Jubilee Line train.

He wrote: "Please people stay at home. I'm a tube driver, I go to work to move London's key works, so when I commute in and get this, it makes me furious."

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In response, Mr Khan said he "cannot" run a normal Underground service due to "growing numbers" of staff off sick or self-isolating.

He advised, instead, for key workers to travel outside of rush hour "if you have to go to work".

In a further tweet, he said he was looking to the government to create a "support package" for workers that could "alleviate the situation."

He said: "Many of those still travelling to work today are on zero hours contracts, work in the gig economy or are freelancers.

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"A proper package of support for these workers would alleviate this situation and help public transport, and I've raised this with the government."

The British Transport Police said it had noticed "lots of people" using the Underground while its officers were patrolling the Central Line.

It added: "Please use public transport only if it is absolutely essential."

It comes after Boris Johnson announced the UK would be going into a lockdown to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

Calling it the "biggest threat this country has faced for decades", the prime minister introduced strict measures to keep people at home except for food shopping and for those listed as key workers.

Alternatives to the London Underground

+ Bus services outside of rush hour

+ Walking

+ Cycling/Santander "Boris" bikes

+ Electric bike share

+ Scooter

+ Taxi