London Underground - Statement from Sadiq Khan

25 March 2020

Statement from Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, Wednesday 25th March

 

I'd like to thank all Londoners who have followed the rules today and stayed at home. TfL's early-morning data suggests that Tube travel is down by an additional third compared to yesterday and bus travel down by an additional 20 per cent. Tube ridership was already 88 per cent down yesterday compared to the same day last year and bus ridership 76 per cent down.

 

However, 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.

 

TfL will do everything possible to continue safely running a basic service for key workers including our amazing NHS staff, but 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.

 

TfL are taking targeted measures to control the flow of passengers at the stations that remain the busiest. This includes reducing the flow at the gate lines with the support of the 500 British Transport Police who are now deployed across the rail network, opening different routes to platforms and turning off down escalators to slow the flow of people to platforms.

 

We have worked with national rail services to ensure some trains do not stop at the busiest London Underground interchanges at peak times. The reduction in services by national rail services on Monday meant that there was increased overcrowding for short periods of times as passengers arrived on fewer trains.

 

TfL have also emailed 4.5 million passengers telling them not to use public transport unless absolutely necessary, and have increased signage and public announcements at key stations – including translating them into 13 languages.

 

It remains the case that too many of the people using TfL services at the busiest times work in construction. I repeat my call on the Government to ban non-safety construction work during this period, as TfL did yesterday. We also urgently need more financial support for the self-employed, freelancers and those in insecure work. In the absence of Government action, we are working with the Construction Leadership Council to try and spread the start times of work on the biggest sites in London.

 

Finally, I would like to give my immense personal gratitude to every single member of TfL staff. You are doing our country a great service at this time of national emergency by ensuring our NHS staff and other key workers are able to get to work and save lives. Thank you.

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