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TfL confirms earlier warnings about Underground limits

THE London Underground will not be able to carry as nearly as many passengers as before while social distancing is required, according to a leaked report from Transport for London.

TfL’s conclusions essentially confirm those of the London Strategic Coordination Group, whose calculations for several scenarios were leaked last week. The LSCG had warned that the effective capacity of the Underground could be reduced to 15 per cent, even with services restored, and the railway could be ‘rapidly overwhelmed’.

The findings from TfL agree that the capacity of the system would be greatly reduced by social distancing, and according to the BBC 50,000 passengers could board every 15 minutes, compared to 325,000 at the height of the peak before, which again would mean capacity coming down to around 15 per cent.

The findings come shortly after the Institute for Fiscal Studies thinktank suggested that ‘the relative price of peak-time travel’ could be changed to discourage commuters during the peaks.

Meanwhile, the RMT, which is concerned about unconfirmed reports that train services could be increased on 18 May, has described the leaked TfL report as ‘a wake-up call’.

The union’s general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘The issues on London Underground would be mirrored on other rail services and it’s about time those leading the charge towards May 18 started taking these realities seriously.

‘To maintain the Government’s own social distancing guidance would mean huge logistical and staffing input to ‎manage passenger flows on to trains and it is imperative that all staff involved in this process are properly protected.

‘RMT will not compromise on the health, safety and livelihoods of our members and we will not agree to anything that fails to put the safety of staff and passengers first.’

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