Initial independent monitoring finds all locations visited on the Underground to be absent of coronavirus

London’s new transport commissioner saw work to clean and reopen Southwark station on the Jubilee line this morning.

Andy Byford, who joined TfL on June 29, joined Heidi Alexander, London’s deputy mayor for transport, to see the work at the station ahead of its reopening on Monday.

It comes as Transport for London released new research which examined a number of locations across the Tube and found them all to be free from coronavirus contamination.

Academics from Imperial College undertook coronavirus testing at high frequency touch points, and in the air at Vauxhall, Pimlico and Victoria stations on June 26 as part of a larger study into the evolution of bacteria and fungi in the urban environment across the globe.

This initial data set of 24 samples all came back negative of any coronavirus. TfL is now assessing what further research in this area might be useful in the future.

At Southwark, Byford and Alexander saw some of the huge range of cleaning and hygiene measures that have been introduced across the transport network, which include:

  • Use of additional hospital-grade cleaning substances that kill viruses and bacteria on contact, and protect for up to 30 days’;
  • Key interchanges being cleaned more frequently – including during the day; and
  • All regular ‘touch point’ areas on buses, such as poles and doors, being wiped down with a strong disinfectant every day.

In addition to these measures, a trial is underway to use UV light to clean the handrails on escalators on the Tube network. The device, which could help supplement TfL’s extensive anti-viral cleaning regime, is connected to the escalator handrail and uses its motion to power a UV bulb that breaks down surface contamination to sanitise the handrail. TfL is now assessing the benefits of the technology, which could be installed more widely in the future.

Alongside the return of service frequencies to near pre-pandemic levels, a huge range of other measures have been introduced to manage the flow of passengers on the capital’s transport network. Over 1,000 hand sanitising point have also been installed.

“A huge range of measures are in place across the transport network to ensure it is cleaner than ever, including the use of new hospital-grade substances, 1,000 hand sanitiser points, and a new trial of UV technology to sanitise hand rails,” said Byford. “Other measures to keep people safe include social distancing signage and the mandatory wearing of face coverings.

“As customers continue to return in greater numbers as pandemic restrictions are gradually eased, there are some simple steps that everyone can take to ensure they stay safe. This includes travelling at quieter times, regular hand cleaning and staying alert to the latest government advice.

“We all want London to continue to get back on its feet, and TfL is fully focussed on supporting this as we strive to make sure that customers and staff are safe.”

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