Government mobility chart reveals spike in online searches for walking and driving directions after Sadiq Khan ‘misses his target of providing 75% of Tubes with only 50% of services running’
- TfL claims that Tube services are back at 75%, DLR and London Overground at 80% and buses at 85% today
- Sadiq Khan also names 20 stations the public should try to avoid because of potential overcrowding
- Rail passengers are required to wear face coverings during their journey and book seats on many services
- Some rail companies proposing to allocate time-restricted ‘travel slots’ at stations to prevent overcrowding
- Mayor of London has also brought back the congestion charge – two weeks early – reimposed from today
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
The Government has revealed a spike in online searches for walking and driving routes as industry sources told MailOnline Sadiq Khan failed to meet his promise that Tube services would rise to 75 per cent of pre-lockdown levels from today – with the true figure closer to 50 per cent.
Commuters promised more carriage space questioned the Mayor of London’s figures as they still had to wait long periods for trains on packed platforms where social distancing was impossible.
Today’s rush hour was the busiest of the lockdown with Tube ridership between 5.30am and 10am up 18.5 per cent – compared to last Monday – with around 15,000 extra people using the underground this morning.
But as pictures of more packed trains emerged, the Aslef union revealed that more London Underground trains could have been running on Monday but some drivers were sent home after they raised concerns about ‘health and safety’. While the RMT Union also shared CCTV images of packed trains during rush hour this morning where most people were not wearing masks.
Tens of thousands more Britons were back in work this morning but gaps between trains in the capital were still up to 15 minutes on some lines with critics demanding to know why the Mayor of London is not running a full service now common in European capital cities such as Berlin.
It comes as Apple data used in Government press conference slides has revealed a sharp increase in requests for walking and driving routes in the UK compared with early May.
The latest figures show requests for walking directions just 38 per cent beneath the Apple baseline – calculated since January 13 – with driving just 40 per cent below baseline.
Despite these figures being well below average for this year, they are a significant increase from figures for lockdown generally.
Data for early May shows requests for walking and driving requests at around 70 per cent below the baseline – with public transport route requests hovering at around 80 per cent below baseline.
All three categories – walking, driving, and public transport route requests – took a sharp plunge when lockdown was announced in March, but public transport requests have remained the lowest since then – with walking and driving route requests now at their highest this month.
Apple data used in Government press conference slides has revealed a sharp increase in requests for walking and driving routes in the UK compared with early May. The latest figures show requests for walking directions just 38 per cent beneath the Apple baseline – calculated since January 13 – with driving just 40 per cent below baseline. Despite these figures being well below average for this year, they are a significant increase from figures for lockdown generally
The RMT Union shared this image of a packed District Line train in rush hour today – where most were not wearing masks – as Aslef said some drivers were sent home for raising health and safety concerns
Traffic in London remains way short on pre-lockdown levels – but are increasing every day as more people return to work with congestion on the capital’s roads now up four per cent today – compared to last Monday, according to TomTom data
Transport for London, which is run by Mayor Khan, said today that Tube services would be back at 75%, DLR and London Overground at 80% and buses at 85% of pre-lockdown capacity as Boris Johnson encouraged as many people as possible to return to work.
But as the morning peak ended a senior Tube source told MailOnline: ‘That might be the aim but in reality, across the entire Tube network, it was about 50 per cent of service.’ At least 30 Tube train drivers refused to work on Health and Safety grounds saying not enough had been done to protect both them and passengers from the virus, the insider said. It is not known how long they instead to stay away but they are not expected to return soon. There are around 3000 drivers on the London Underground, including those who work for the night Tube.
Transport for London insisted 75 per cent of Tube trains were running.
Nick Dent, Director of Line Operations for London Underground, said: ‘The safety of our staff and customers is the most important thing to us as we carefully work towards a return to the level of service on the Tube closer to normal, with 75 per cent of services running this morning.
‘We would never force a member of staff to work if they were concerned about safety. If they are not reassured by the evidence we offer describing the extensive safety measures we’ve introduced, we provide them with a detailed pack of written information and ask them to return when they are satisfied. We are always available to clarify any points which continue to be a cause for concern.’
‘We have installed screens and social-distancing signage in depots and service control centres, and have implemented one-way systems to make social distancing easier. Hand sanitiser and masks have also been provided to staff to reduce the risk of infection as much as possible in addition to the continued regular rigorous cleaning of the Tube. All of these changes have been fully risk assessed and comply with all PHE and Government.’
ASLEF chief Finn Brennan tweeted: ‘Bizarre situation this morning where Underground managers are sending home drivers who raise H&S [health and safety] concerns..meaning fewer drivers available..so fewer trains! A driver who wasn’t prepared to use a mess room where she would not be able to social distance has been sent home and told pay at risk. She lives with 84 year old parent. Shameful stuff from TFL management’.
He added: ‘It’s disappointing and worrying that so many people are still using the tube without face covering this morning. They are risking the safety of staff and other passengers’.
There is a large police presence at Waterloo station in London today as train and Tube services headed back to 70 per cent to accomodate more workers
Stewards line up at Britain’s busiest railway station for interchanges, Clapham Junction in south-west London, as train services were increased today
The majority of people who crammed on to this Tube train at Canning Town before 7am today were not wearing face masks as Britain returns to work
Tube passenger Raymond Campbell, who had travelled on the Piccadilly Line from Hounslow Central to Earls Court Tube station told MailOnline: ‘I waited almost 15 minutes for a train and that’s not acceptable. Normally they come along every two or three minutes. We need more Tube trains to be running as quickly as possible because the number of passengers will only increase.’ Shop worker Dinesh Shukla, who was returning to work for the first time today, said: ‘The platform was quite crowded because we had to wait a lot longer for a train. I don’t understand why there isn’t a full service’.
There was also confusion growing over whether commuters should wear masks and it was revealed that stations will be shut if they get too busy with security teams brought in to manage crowds.
Sadiq Khan has said that people catching the Tube or bus should cover their faces but in contrast Sir Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail, said that face coverings are not mandatory on mainline trains with commuters claiming ‘hardly anyone’ is wearing them.
Sir Peter said: ‘We are relying on people to be sensible. We want people to stay apart if they humanly can and if they can’t, then a face covering is a quite sensible thing to do for the brief moments when you might be getting on or off a train or moving through a station’. He added: ‘We have processes to close stations if they become too full’.
Roads also appeared busier today as Sadiq Khan brought back the congestion charge two weeks early – before the price rises from £11.50 to £15 next month and is imposed on weekends for the first time.
As Britain’s travel network edged back to normal, it was also revealed today:
- Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary blasts Government’s ‘idiotic’ plans for 14-day coronavirus quarantine for arrivals into the UK;
- Fears British lockdown won’t hold because of prolonged good weather as Europeans pack onto beaches and throng to bars and cafes as life begins to return to normal on the continent;
- PM said to be insistent he will not vary lockdown rules across the country – despite the R coronavirus infection rate ranging widely in different regions;
- Government announces £130million plan to manufacture Oxford Covid-19 jab the moment it’s proved to work, so UK can have 30 million doses ready by Autumn and be first nation to get it;
- But the World Health Organisation has said that Europe must prepare for a second deadly wave of the coronavirus;
Tube services are being returned to 70 per cent of capacity today but many say that it should be at 100% to maintain social distancing
Signs warning people not to travel without face coverings and hand sanitiser stations have appeared at Tube stations
Traffic builds up on the A102 in Greenwich on the approach to the Blackwall Tunnel in south-east London as Sadiq Khan brought the congestion charge back in central London today
Sadiq Khan has again urged people to stay at home unless they have to leave – but people on public transport have complained there were not enough face masks
A list of Transport for London’s (TfL) 20 busiest stations has been published to help people avoid overcrowding hotspots.
The transport body issued the information as it urged people not to use its most popular stations during peak hours unless journeys are essential.
These stations are: Barking, Brixton, Canada Water, Canary Wharf, Canning Town, Clapham Junction, East Croydon, East Ham, Lewisham, Leyton, Liverpool Street (Tube), London Bridge (Tube), North Acton, Seven Sisters, Stratford, Walthamstow Central, West Croydon, West Ham, Wood Green and Woolwich Arsenal.
It will be regularly updated depending on journey patterns.
Passengers are warned they should ‘expect to queue to enter’ some stations, as transport bosses attempt to allow two-metre social distancing ‘wherever possible’.
Those who arrive in central London at mainline stations are being asked to complete their journey by walking or cycling, rather than changing onto a Tube train or bus.
The Tube network is at its busiest from 5.45am to 8.15am and 4pm to 5.30pm.
TfL said: ‘It will help keep everyone safe if you can travel outside these times.’
The capacity of Tube stations and trains will be constrained even once services are restored to full strength.
TfL services have been reduced in recent weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it has pledged to return them to ‘as close to 100% as soon as possible’ as part of its agreement with the Government for a £1.6 billion bailout.
Operations were ramped up on Monday, meaning TfL is running 75% of Tube services, 85% of bus services and 80% of London Overground and Docklands Light Railway services.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: ‘Even when services are running at the highest possible frequency, the need to maintain safe social distancing will dramatically reduce capacity on the Tube to just 13-15%.
‘We are making it safer for people who have no alternative but to use public transport by reopening stations, installing hand sanitiser points, introducing one-way systems and reminding people of the need to stay two metres apart.
‘We are also making sure Londoners know which stations to avoid at what times.’
Mr Khan added that people should only use public transport ‘as a last resort’.
Travellers now face major changes on the railways and Tube as services including mandatory booking of seats on some routes or face not being able to board. And going forward commuters could even be told to book a slot to enter their local railway station to prevent overcrowding, with stewards brought in to manage crowds at Clapham Junction today – Europe’s busiest station by interchanges. Police and security guards were also deployed at other stations to prevent rush hour surges.
And as many more people started working today, panicked passengers complained of packed trains and some mainline services ran with half the usual number of carriages. They have also been told to allow for social distancing – but despite floor stickers being installed on trains in European cities to ensure people stay two metres apart – they don’t appear to have been put in on the Tube.
Sadiq Khan warned during rush hour this morning that ‘lockdown has not been lifted’, adding: ‘London’s doing an incredible job slowing the spread of #COVID19, but if we’re to prevent a disastrous second wave we must all continue to stay at home as much as possible and avoid any unnecessary travel, especially on public transport. Don’t let up now. Let’s keep it going’.
Mr Khan’s transport chief Heidi Alexander today urged people to stay away from public transport as many more people were due to return, and tweeted: ‘LONDON: please don’t use public transport unless you really have to. Work at home if you can. Don’t travel first thing. Wear a face covering. And always wash your hands before and after you travel’.
The Tube was also busy again in rush hour, especially on routes from east London into central London most used by blue collar workers such as those in the construction industry.
But those who commuted into major cities today complained that while there were more trains – services were not up to scratch, especially on services where the number of carriages were halved.
Peter Moore, who was commuting from Kent to Victoria station on told MailOnline: ‘I waited twice as long for a train than I had to prior to the lockdown. I know that there’s not a full service operating but that needs to happen quickly because there’s going to be more passengers. They’ve had plenty of time to prepare for people to return to work and they should have had a full service by now.’
And While Edward Reeves. who travelled to London on a Greater Anglia service tweeted: Why was the 0443 service to LST from Colchester this morning only a 4 carriage? It’s usually an 8 carriage. Social distancing is difficult enough without halving the capacity of a train’.
London’s Victoria station was not as busy as expected with the expected deluge of commuters failing to materialise. Around 50 security staff were on duty to ensure passengers maintained social distance and signs had also been erected urging commuters to stay two meters apart.
Transport police recruited to man railway stations
An army of transport police will be drafted in at rail stations amid fears of chaos after commuters were warned not to board ‘overcrowded’ trains.
Passenger numbers are expected to rise by as much as a quarter this week. But train firms yesterday urged people not to travel, with services operating at as little as ten per cent capacity to maintain social distancing rules.
British Transport Police said thousands of officers will patrol platforms at mainline stations and on the Tube. But a spokesman admitted there was nothing illegal in a passenger breaking social distancing guidelines and no law that could prevent a commuter boarding a ‘crowded’ train.
Nigel Goodband, of the BTP Police Federation, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘As a force, we have had a call to arms this weekend. We will be there to ensure that tensions don’t reach a point where people are spitting, coughing or assaulting staff.’
Amarjit Singh, 50 who had travelled from Welling, south-east London to Victoria to return to work on a construction site for the first time since the lockdown said: ‘It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. The train was not as busy as it usually is, but I had to wait a lot longer for it because I was told that services are not as frequent.
‘I’m worried that once things return back to normal, which they are slowly doing, it will not be as easy to maintain social distance and that it may lead to an increase in coronavirus infections. We need more trains because very soon there are going to be a lot more passengers.’
Sirrin Bena, 24 who was returning to his job as a lettings agent and had travelled from Kent said: ‘It was actually quite pleasant being on the train because there was hardly anybody on it.
‘I was doing this commute every day prior to the lockdown and today is my first day back. I thought it would be very busy, but it hasn’t been, which is good. But I waited around 20 minutes for the train, which is double the amount of time I usually do. We need a full service up and running so that we can travel to work safely.’
Dora Howard, 52, who works in a studio and had travelled to Victoria from south-east London said: ‘I actually return to work last week and the train’s have not been that busy. I think most people are still working from home or travelling to work in cars.
‘There’s plenty of space on the trains at the moment and it’s very easy to find a seat and keep your distance. But I’m waiting longer for trains and I’m worried that they will become busier as time passes. The service needs to be running at 100% as soon as possible.’
NHS worker Nina Bual, 48 who has been commuting from Purely, south-east London to Victoria throughout the lockdown said: ‘I’ve noticed that the trains are getting busier but not as packed as they usually are.
‘But they’re not as frequent and you have to wait long for them. While most people are still working from home, what concerns me is how long that is going to last? Let’s get a full train and tube service up and running as quickly as possible before we see the usual rush hour chaos.’
The district and circle line was very busy today – up to 15 minute waits were common on some routes this morning
This was the scene on CCTV at Burnt Oak station this morning as people complained about gaps between stations
Social distancing was not possible on the Jubilee Line into London today and the majority were not wearing masks
Commuters at London Bridge Station this morning after the prime Minister Boris Johnson said the public should be encouraged to head back to work if they can’t work from home
King’s Cross Station, one of London’s busiest transport hubs, was almost deserted on Monday morning despite a drive to get more trains running to get Britain back to work.
Government WON’T vary lockdown rules across the country despite the R coronavirus infection rate varying widely in different regions
The government will not vary the lifting of coronavirus lockdown by region, despite the R infection rate varying widely in different parts of the UK, the business minister confirmed today.
Speaking at the latest Downing Street press conference, Alok Sharma said the government would be sticking with its national approach to the lockdown.
The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy added that it was ‘too soon’ to discuss a phased lifting of lockdown by region.
Different parts of the UK have a different R rate, which is used to indicate how fast the virus is spreading.
R rates calculated by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggest the East Midlands has the fastest spread of infection, with a rate of between 0.8 and 1.2.
On the other hand, London, which was the hardest hit part of the UK, has a current R rate of 0.5 to 0.8, the lowest in the country.
It has led to speculation that different parts of the country could see different forms of lockdown.
However, responding to a member of the public who asked if a phased lifting of lockdown would be better based on the virus reproduction R number regionally, Mr Sharma said it is ‘too soon’ and the Government is sticking with its national approach.
NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis added: ‘There will be variations between different parts of the country, that occurs naturally in epidemics.
‘We see that, for instance, in flu season each winter.
‘What’s important going forward is increasingly we will be able to measure R direct.’
Train companies are increasing services to 70% of standard timetable capacity, industry body the Rail Delivery group said.
But to enable social distancing, many services are running at just 10% of normal capacity and passengers are still being urged to avoid all non-essential travel.
The King’s Cross concourse was dotted with stickers reading ‘Protect your NHS, stay 2M apart’, while regular announcements urged people to stick to social distancing measures.
There were many more staff on duty than travellers, as well as several police officers on patrol around the station and neighbouring St Pancras.
The few commuters waiting for trains were mostly pessimistic about how well everyone would be able to keep two metres apart once passenger numbers start to rise.
Last night Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that he understood booking in advance was not as convenient for passengers, but it was important to help stop the spread of the virus.
Rail operators are also likely to scrap first-class carriages to free up space so commuters can sit further apart, with season ticket holders refunded and given standard passes.
In the weeks ahead, some rail companies on commuter routes are also proposing to allocate time-restricted ‘travel slots’ to enforce staggered commute times. Operators have agreed that train guards will no longer walk up the aisles checking tickets.
Buffet cars and trolleys are to be axed and passengers will be discouraged from eating their own food and drink on board.
Although timetables will be restored to 70 per cent of normal levels, passengers are being urged to stay at home amid fears of crowding.
The Government has said that people should still only travel for limited reasons such as going to work if they cannot do their job from home. Public transport should be avoided where possible, with people using cars, walking or cycling if they can.
Those who must use train services will be asked to limit contact with staff and ticket machines by downloading e-tickets to smartphones.
They will also be required to wear face coverings – different from medical masks – during their journey. Passengers will face queues to get into stations at the busiest times.
Commuters leave London Bridge Station and walk down Tooley Street this morning where pavements were far busier than they had been over the past two months
This bus passenger in north London posted this picture on the top deck where people were clearly not two metres apart
Passengers board and leave a train at a station in Bracknell, Berkshire, as train services increase for the first time since lockdown
To allow for social distancing, passengers on at least four major lines will be told to reserve a seat in advance if they have to travel. Pictured: Liverpool Street Rail Station in London
Passengers face major changes on the railways as services are ramped back up to 70 per cent of normal levels today. Pictured: Passengers wear face masks at Liverpool Street Rail Station in London
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that he understood booking in advance was not as convenient for passengers, but it was important to help stop the spread of the virus. Pictured: Passengers social distance in the queue at Liverpool Street Rail Station in London
Operators also have powers to close busy platforms and use social media to warn passengers to stay away. A vast public information campaign has been introduced at stations.
How is social distancing going to work on the Tube?
To avoid passengers cramming on to carriages, Transport for London has asked:
- Commuters to avoid public transport and travel by bike or on foot
- Bosses to stagger start times for their employees
- Passengers to wear face coverings and use hand sanitiser
- People to to obey the national requirement to maintain two-metre distance between passengers.
Signs have been erected at stations urging people to maintain social distancing.
TfL has said that the two-metre rule will reduce passenger capacity to only 13 per cent of full functioning.
Unlike many European countries which have laid down floor markings signalling where people can stand, it is understood no such plans exist for the Tube.
Instead, TfL told MailOnline that British Transport Police will be moving people along.
Ministers are braced for a potential clash from transport unions, which are deeply opposed to any increase in services and have threatened to walk out if social distancing is not observed.
Union leaders are calling on the Government to issue free face masks to passengers and to make sure social distancing is enforced.
To control passenger numbers, London North Eastern Railway has announced it will only accept customers with advance tickets.
The operator said numbers on board each train will be limited to a fifth of seats. Avanti is also asking passengers to pre-book – along with Great Western Railway and Chiltern Railways.
Dave Kaye, of rail giant Abellio, said: ‘This is going to be a game changer for travel habits. I think it’s a paradigm shift in rail travel.’
He added: ‘We may have to become slightly closer to airline-style pricing, meaning tickets might cost more or less on certain days or at certain times.’
Mr Shapps told the Mail last night: ‘From today we’re introducing an important new ticketing system to help fight the spread of Covid-19 and keep the travelling public safe.
‘Until further notice, anyone wishing to travel on either the Avanti or LNER cross-country services should book their ticket in advance.
‘This change will enable social distancing for all passengers by allowing us to block off certain seats and provide a safer environment for everyone.
‘We understand that this isn’t as convenient as walking up and purchasing your ticket, but I know the travelling public will understand that – in these exceptional times – we want to take every possible measure to help people stay alert and stop the spread of the disease. The system is likely to be extended to other inter-city services soon.’
By car, by bike and on foot… tourists ignore stay away plea
By Rebecca Camber Chief Crime Correspondent for The Daily Mail
Day-trippers flocked to parks and beaches yesterday to take advantage of the loosening of lockdown, ignoring pleas from tourism bosses to stay away.
Roads surrounding beauty spots in the Peak District and locations including Birling Gap on the South Coast were jammed with traffic as visitors ventured out to enjoy the warm weather.
National police chief Martin Hewitt had pledged a continued crackdown on large gatherings but city parks, seaside promenades and national parks were crammed with those meeting for picnics and parties.
In Lancashire, police were astonished to find a mother had laid on a baby shower in a communal play area with dozens of guests, a buffet and bouncy castle.
Walkers, runners, dog owners and cyclists flock to Wimbledon Common in London yesterday
When two community officers tried to break up the event in Morecambe, they were told it did not matter as ‘schools were going back’ soon while some of the party-goers became abusive.
In Telford, Shropshire, police shut down a rave attended by 70 revellers who said they were ‘sick of self-isolation’. West Mercia Police said a DJ had set up the party at Granville Country Park on Saturday night.
Over the weekend, the Peak District National Park urged day-trippers not to visit the area after car parks filled up. On Twitter, they said: ‘This area [Langsett] is extremely busy with car parks currently full and social distancing difficult.
‘Please don’t travel to the area or park outside designated bays.’ But tourists simply parked up on local roads instead.
Cars fill up the verges as day-trippers head off to the cliffs at Birling Gap near Beachy Head in East Sussex
In Dartmoor car parks were closed due to overcrowding which made them too busy for social distancing.
The Dartmoor Ranger Team asked visitors to stay away from locations including Bellever, Two Bridges, Postbridge, Newbridge, Hennock, reservoirs and sites on the western side of Dartmoor. There were similar scenes at Birling Gap, near Eastbourne, East Sussex, where visitors parked on grass verges to stroll along the clifftop.
In Brighton, the council asked people to stay away from its seafront but yesterday the promenade was packed as temperatures soared.
A couple were told they faced prosecution for travelling from Scotland to Snowdonia to camp beside Lake Geirionydd.
Hundreds of motorcyclists descended on Matlock Bath in Derbyshire, where the appeared to ignore social distancing rules yesterday
Hundreds of bikers flooded into Matlock Bath in the Peak District, a popular destination for motorcyclists. Passers-by said they were shocked as the bikes lined the main street while visitors were enjoying ice creams and fish and chips.
Steve Manion, 30, said: ‘It was disgusting. There were bunches of people brushing up against each other. No one was adhering to social distancing.’
In the Yorkshire Dales, campers were fined after pitching tents near Surrender Bridge, Swaledale. Police are set to face more problems enforcing the rules with Wednesday predicted to be the hottest day of the year with temperatures predicted to climb as high as 27C (80.6F).
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