A SPECIAL force of 500 BTP constables is now patrolling the National Rail network, and passengers are being reminded at stations that only essential travel is recommended.
The number of people using the London Underground has fallen over the past two days, according to Mayor Sadiq Khan. His statement followed outrage earlier this week when it became known that the reduced Underground services were as full as usual during the peaks, making social distancing impossible.
The Mayor said passenger totals fell by a third yesterday, but that more needed to be done. He continued: ‘We still need more Londoners to do the right thing and stay at home.
‘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.
‘If the number of TfL staff off sick or self-isolating continues to rise – as we sadly expect it will – we will have no choice but to reduce services further.’
To help discourage use of the Underground still further some escalators have been turned off and queuing has been introduced at ticket gates.
BTP assistant chief constable Sean O’Callaghan said: ‘The measures announced by the Prime Minister are there to save lives which is part of the work our officers do every day. We are supporting rail operators and those key workers making their journeys home tonight by deploying 500 officers across the rail network nationally.
‘They will be patrolling stations, supporting railway staff and reminding the public of the urgent need to follow the government advice – only those making essential journeys for work should be using the Tube and rail network.
‘We strongly urge the rest of the public to do the right thing and help us save lives by staying at home and slowing the spread of the virus.’