TRANSPORT FOR LONDON has set out plans to increase the frequency of its services, but is also warning that there will no early return to conditions before the coronavirus pandemic.
TfL has acted after the Government began to unveil changes to the lockdown rules in England, in which people who can return to certain types of work which cannot be carried out at home are being encouraged to do so, although they should try not to use public transport.
Even so, TfL says the present 60 per cent level of Underground and Overground services will be increased to 70 per cent, while the number of buses will go up from 80 to 85 per cent. Full timetables will be operated on TfL Rail to Shenfield, Reading and Heathrow. These will be the first steps towards ‘safely and gradually’ building up service levels ‘to where they were before the pandemic’.
London Underground is aiming to restore the Circle Line service and to reopen some of the 37 stations that have remained closed for several weeks. Some stations may need to remain closed because social distancing is not possible inside their lifts, while others will also stay closed for now so that their staff can be used at busier stations.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: ‘We will all have to continue playing our part in reducing demand on services by working from home if we possibly can. Please avoid public transport wherever possible. I urge all Londoners to rethink the way they travel. Please avoid peak times, wear a non-medical covering over your nose and mouth and carry a hand sanitizer. By rapidly rolling out more space for walking and cycling through our London Streetspace plan we are enabling many more journeys to be made through these sustainable means which is crucial to our city’s recovery.
‘I am pleased that all TfL frontline staff will be offered basic face masks from today. Along with the introduction of hand sanitizer points in the coming weeks, these additional measures will further protect our heroic staff and passengers at this critical period.’