However, body urges Londoners to continue working from home wherever possible


Transport for London has set out its initial plan to support the government’s roadmap for the next few months and help Londoners who need to travel do so safely.

The organisation says its plans will be supplemented by guidance from government when it is published. However, it says whatever the government decides it is clear that there will be significant changes to the way in which people travel in the immediate future.

Since March TfL has been able to operate up to 60% of London Underground services and more than 80% of bus services. This is while managing the impact of the virus on the transport workforce with staff ill, shielding or self-isolating.

In keeping with plans on the national rail network, TfL is working to 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 a full service as soon as possible.

Staff and the trade unions are working with TfL with the intention of, by May 18, increasing service levels to around 85% on the bus network, at least 70% on the London Undferground and London Overground (in line with national rail services), 80% 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.

The national requirement to maintain two-metre social distancing wherever possible means that TfL will only be able to carry around 13-15% of the normal number of passengers on the Tube and bus networks even when a full service is restored.

“Transport providers, borough councils, schools, businesses and Londoners all have a vital role to play over the coming weeks, working with government to meet a travel demand challenge that far outstrips the challenge experienced during the 2012 Olympic games,” TfL said.

It said Londoners should continue to work from home where at all possible and passengers should not expect to return to the transport network you were used to before the pandemic.

TfL also said passengers should travel outside peak times where possible, use a facial covering, carry a hand sanitizer and wash their hands before and after travel. Hand sanitizer points will also be installed at stations across the network.

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.

TfL says it is also working with London’s boroughs to rapidly transform London’s streets to accommodate a possible 10-fold increase in cycling and five-fold increase in walking as lockdown restrictions are eased.

This includes the rapid construction of a strategic cycling network, using temporary materials, including new routes aimed at reducing crowding on Underground and train lines and on busy bus corridors. Work to widen footways in town centres and to reduce traffic on residential streets is also underway.

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