Smart Transport

Rail ramps up – but passengers told to stay away

Hand sanitiser point at station

New Government guidance has seen a coordinated effort across Train Operating Companies and local transport operators to increase services – but overall capacity remains constrained.

While some TOCs have managed to ramp up services to as much as 70% of full capacity, social distancing rules means capacity remains severely diminished and passengers are being asked to avoid all but essential journeys.

Crowd control measures have been implemented at some mainline stations and passengers without tickets AND reservations have been turned away.

Face coverings are strongly recommended for all passengers and hand sanitisers have been placed in station ticket halls.

Network Rail said passenger numbers had increased in the last two weeks, but footfall through mainline stations remained at around 10% of pre-lockdown levels.

In the Capital, transport for London stepped up public transport service levels for people who have no alternative other than to use public transport as national restrictions on movement are carefully and gradually lifted.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "Coronavirus poses monumental challenges to our city’s complex public transport network. Even when services are running at the highest possible frequency, the need to maintain safe social distancing will dramatically reduce capacity on the Tube to just 13-15 per cent.

"We are making it safer for people who have no alternative but to use public transport by reopening stations, installing hand sanitiser points, introducing one-way systems and reminding people of the need to stay two metres apart.”

Mike Brown MVO, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: "We are working hard to restore all services to normal levels as quickly as possible.

"But, given the national requirement to maintain 2 metre social distancing, the capacity of the network is hugely constrained.  On the Tube for example, we can only carry 13-15 per cent of normal passenger numbers even once services are back to full strength.”

British Transport Police Assistant Chief Constable, Sean O’Callaghan said: "Our officers are out and about across the rail network, focusing their time at stations where they are most needed. At some of the busier stations you may see more officers than usual. They’re there to help keep passengers and rail staff safe.”

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