Coronavirus: important travel advice from TfL (18th May)

In line with Government plans to increase national rail services, we are working hard to return Tube and bus services to normal levels while many of our staff are themselves ill, shielding or self-isolating.

By next week we plan to increase service levels to around 85 per cent on the bus network, 75 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.

However, given the national requirement to maintain 2 metres distance between passengers wherever possible, the capacity on all services will be hugely reduced. On the Tube, for example, capacity will only be around 13-15 per cent of normal even once services are back to full strength.

This means transport must operate very differently.

In line with Government advice, everyone who can work from home should continue to do so. Public transport should be avoided, wherever possible, to free up the limited space available to those who have no alternative way to travel.

If you must travel, please plan ahead and travel outside of the busiest times, particularly first thing in the morning. The busiest times on the network are 05:45 to 08:15 and 16:00-17:30. It would help enormously if you were able to travel outside these times if you possibly can.

Please also try to take the most direct route and avoid busy interchanges.

We have produced a list of the busiest times and places on our Tube and rail network. This list and the busiest times might change over time, so we will keep it updated.

We are also updating our digital tools such as journey planner, our Facebook TravelBot and the real-time data we provide to third party apps. These could be helpful in re-planning your journey.

We are taking measures across our network to enable social distancing of 2 metres wherever possible. Please wear a face covering and respect the space of fellow passengers to help maintain this distance. Do not travel if you have any symptoms of the virus.

You may be asked to wait to enter a station. Some stations will have one-way systems, or you may be asked to walk on the left. We are also asking people to maintain social distancing throughout stations, for example on stairs, escalators and in lifts.

If travelling by bus, please maintain social distancing at stops and bus stations wherever possible. Currently, you will also need to board the bus using the middle doors. Please allow other passengers to get on and off while maintaining social distancing.

When in the bus please use all available space, including the upper deck, if possible, to maintain social distancing.

Consider walking or cycling

If you can, please walk or cycle for all or part of your journey, including to complete your journey if travelling into central London. Please consider getting off a stop or two early to reduce the numbers of people travelling on Tubes and buses. We have been introducing local improvements in partnership with boroughs to widen footpaths and provide more cycle lanes. You can find out more here.

These improvements are also taking place to help support you in making the most of your local shops and outdoor spaces.

Congestion Charging

To prevent London’s roads from becoming unusably congested, the Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be reintroduced on Monday 18 May.

These schemes reduce congestion and pollution and help tackle the climate emergency. If your place of work is located inside the Congestion Charging Zone and you are an employee of an NHS Trust, the London Ambulance Service or a care home, please speak to your employer about the NHS reimbursement scheme.

The Low Emission Zone, which discourages the use of the dirtiest lorries and large vans, will also be reintroduced at the same time.

Supporting you and our colleagues

We are doing everything we can to maintain the cleanliness of our network with regular cleaning using hospital grade antiviral disinfectant.

It is also important that you continue to follow the Government advice on hygiene. Please wash your hands before and after travel and carry hand sanitiser with you.

We are also putting hand sanitiser dispensers in our stations as quickly as possible.

Please be considerate to our staff and follow their instructions. Everyone is doing their best in these difficult times.

We will continue to keep you updated with relevant information over the coming days.