TfL coronavirus update

Dear Andrew,

I wanted to get in touch to update you on Transport for London’s (TfL’s) response to COVID-19.

Our early data this morning has shown that Tube travel is down by an additional third compared to yesterday, and bus travel down 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.

It is important, however, that more Londoners do the right thing and stay at home. Nearly a third of our 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. We are doing everything we can to continue safely running a basic service for key workers – not least NHS staff. However, if the number of TfL staff off sick or self-isolating continues to rise – as we expect it will – we will have no choice but to reduce services further.

We are continuing to communicate the message that people should not use public transport unless absolutely necessary and to explain to those who are key workers – and therefore whose journeys are absolutely essential – that the busiest times are 05:45-07:30 and 16:00-17:30. If possible they may want to avoid travelling at these times, particularly on certain parts of the network, as there may be some disruption to their journey. We would be very grateful for any support you can offer through your networks to spread this message.

We are taking measures to control passenger flows at our busiest stations, including the deployment of 500 British Transport Police officers. We have been working with national rail services to ensure that some trains do not stop at the busiest London Underground interchanges at peak times, and we have emailed 4.5 million passengers telling them not to use public transport unless it is absolutely necessary. We have increased signage and public announcements at key stations, and have translated them into 13 languages.

You will know from my email yesterday that we and Crossrail are bringing all project sites to a temporary ‘Safe Stop’, unless they need to continue for operational safety reasons, while essential maintenance of the transport network will – of course – continue.