Londoners should keep trying to work from home, says TfL

26 May 2020, 13:53

A woman in a coronavirus face mask on the Tube
A woman in a coronavirus face mask on the Tube. Picture: PA

By Ewan Somerville

Londoners should be allowed to keep working from home despite the loosening of travel restrictions, Transport for London (TfL) said.

TfL urged employers to “play a part in controlling the coronavirus” by cutting the number of staff who commute to work.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced all non-essential shops can reopen in England from June 15, subject to conditions, starting with outdoor markets and car dealers on June 1.

The transport body, which is responsible for the capital’s Tubes, buses and light railway, is currently running three quarters of Underground services and 85 per cent of buses.

But it warned that even at full capacity, numbers who can travel “safely” will be limited to “around 13%-15%” if social distancing is to be followed.

Some 7,000 TfL staff have been furloughed and a fifth are self-isolating, Mayor Sadiq Khan previously said.

Entry to stations will be restricted “if necessary”, with officers from British Transport Police deployed to help manage crowds.

Businesses in London have also been asked to slash the number of deliveries and servicing trips to cut congestion at peak times.

Mr Khan is overseeing a push to ramp up levels of cycling and walking across the capital with a Streetspace scheme that includes a network of pop-up bicycle lanes and more pedestrianised areas.

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Mike Brown, London’s transport commissioner, said the city faces a “huge transport challenge” as lockdown rules continue to loosen.

“That’s why we are working closely with the mayor and the local boroughs to provide a huge range of new walking and cycling facilities,” he said.

“It’s also why we and London’s businesses need to work closely together, as we always do, to ensure that their employees can get around safely.

“Businesses can do this by ensuring their employees have all the latest guidance from the Government and TfL and continue to advise everyone to work from home where possible, avoid public transport, walk or cycle where possible, and – if using public transport is essential – travel outside of peak hours and wear a face covering.”