Transport for London (TfL) has issued guidance for the use of public transport in the capital, including calling for face masks to be worn.
Following the prime minister's announcement of a phased reopening of the lockdown, TfL warned there had to be 'significant changes to the way networks operate' and advised that Londoners 'must continue working from home wherever possible to enable safe journeys for those who cannot do so'.
To help the transition employers have been urged to help their staff avoid travelling at the busiest times of day.
Up to 60% of Tube services and more than 80% of bus services have been operating during the crisis and TfL said it is now working to return to 100% as soon as possible.
'TfL is working closely with staff and the trade unions with the intention of, by 18 May, increasing service levels to around 85% on the bus network, at least 70% on the Tube and London Overground (in line with national rail services), 80% on the DLR and a full service on TfL Rail.'
The national requirement to maintain a two-metre distance between passengers wherever possible means TfL should only be carrying around 13-15% of the normal number of passengers on the Tube and bus networks even when 100% of services are operating once again over time.
Hand sanitizer points will also be introduced over the coming weeks across networks including the Tube and bus stations.
In a statement, it said: 'London Underground is aiming to restore the Circle Line and to re-open some of the 37 stations that have been closed for several weeks. However, some stations will stay closed for now so that staff can be deployed to help manage any congestion at busier stations. Some stations with lift-only access may need to remain closed as social distancing is not possible.'
TfL has today set out the following advice for Londoners:
- Please avoid public transport wherever possible. Social distancing on public transport will not be possible unless we radically reduce the overall number of people travelling to work;
- Walk and cycle if you can. New walking and cycling space is being created through the London Streetspace programme to further support this;
- If using public transport, or taxi and private hire services, please travel outside of peak times and use a facial covering, carry a hand sanitizer and wash your hands before and after you travel.
- Please respect each other’s space and try to maintain social distancing wherever possible;
- If you have to drive, please avoid peak times and obey speed limits and traffic laws at all times.