Update from TfL on services (May 11th)

Dear Andrew

I am writing to update you with Transport for London’s (TfL’s) plans following the announcement from Government yesterday on how restrictions on movement will gradually start to be eased. This initial strategy will be supplemented over the coming days following advice on travel to be issued by Government.

Significant changes to the way in which people travel in London will be required.

In keeping with plans on the national rail network, we are working to safely and gradually build up service levels to where they were before the pandemic and will return the number of buses and trains running to as close to 100 per cent as soon as possible. We are working closely with staff and the trade unions with the intention of, by 18 May, increasing service levels to around 85 per cent on the bus network, at least 70 per cent on the Tube and London Overground (in line with national rail services), 80 per cent on the DLR and a full service on TfL Rail.

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.

However, as is the case with national rail services, this does not mean a return to the transport network that existed before the crisis.

The national requirement to maintain 2m social distancing wherever possible means that TfL will be able to carry around 13-15 per cent of the normal number of passengers on the Tube and bus networks even when 100 per cent of services are operating once again.

Reflecting these national recommendations, we are today setting out the following advice for Londoners:

. If you can work from home, please continue to do so. Social distancing on transport will not be possible unless people who can work from home continue to do so;

. Do not expect to return to the transport network you were used to before. The number of people TfL can safely transport on buses and trains is severely constrained to enable social distancing;

. If you need to travel, please reimagine how to do so. Walk and cycle if you can. New walking and cycling space is being created to further support this;

. Please shop locally and use local leisure facilities to help keep demand on buses and tubes down;

. If using public transport, or taxi and private hire services that are regulated by TfL, please travel outside of peak times and use a facial covering, carry a hand sanitizer and wash your hands before and after you travel. The latest Government advice is that, although face coverings are unlikely to prevent you from getting the virus, they could help prevent you from giving it to others. Face covering are particularly important where 2m social distancing is hard to maintain.

. Advice on maintaining social distancing will be given across the transport network and further measures to prevent crowding through new queuing systems will be in operation. Please respect each other’s space and try to maintain social distancing wherever possible;

. Our hardworking staff are there to help: please act on their instructions and respect them at all times;

. If you absolutely have to drive, please avoid peak times and obey speed limits and traffic laws at all times.

To help as the number of customers travelling gradually increases, we are introducing a range of measures. Hand sanitizer points will start to be introduced across the transport network over the coming weeks, with points to be installed at every Tube and TfL rail station. They will also be installed in all bus stations and the Victoria Coach Station, and at TfL River Piers, the Woolwich Ferry, Emirates Air Line and at all London Overground and DLR stations where it’s safe and secure to do so. The rigorous cleaning regime for buses, trains and stations will continue.

As travel restrictions begin to be lifted, all taxi and private hire companies and drivers are being asked to put protective measures in place including ensuring face coverings to be worn by drivers.