Commuters were still cramming onto packed Tubes and buses in the morning dash to work today after Sadiq Khan cut services and told Londoners to enforce social distancing.
The London Mayor, who is now working from home, has said Britons in the capital need to stay indoors to ‘protect the ones they love’ amid the outbreak of deadly coronavirus – which has infected 5,683 and killed 281 in the UK so far.
London Underground staff and commuters are ‘furious’ after trains remained packed on Monday morning despite passengers being urged not to travel unless they have a critical job.
A special needs teacher told MailOnline he could not get to work safely this morning due to overcrowding – sharing images of a packed Central Line at 7.15am.
And Finn Brennan, district organiser for train drivers’ union Aslef, was shocked by the extremely busy services still going ahead despite advice aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
Fury against the decision to cut London transport comes as:
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock insists he will ensure that NHS staff get all the personal protection equipment they need, amid fear they are currently ‘lambs to the slaughter’;
- The government warns Britons flocking to campsites and holiday homes away from cities that it does not count as ‘essential travel;
- The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, has said no new trials will start and that ongoing trials will be paused while arrangements are put in place so they can continue safely;
- The NHS is sending out letters to the 1.5million considered to be most at risk of coronavirus urging them to remain at home for the next 12 weeks;
- A nurse is fighting for her life in the hospital where she works after being diagnosed with coronavirus;
One commuter tweeted at London’s Northern Line asking where the southbound train at Colindale was, adding: ‘No sight of the train, platform is full of people, thanks for nothing!’
This picture shows commuters crowding onto a bus at Stratford, east London during a typical rush hour this morning
Passengers squeeze on to a busy Central Line underground train at Stratford station, east London, March 23
Leyton Station on the Central Line is pictured Monday morning as commuters continue their journeys amid health worries
Passengers wait on the platform for a Central Line underground train at Stratford station, east London, March 23
A special needs teacher told MailOnline he could not get to work safely this morning due to overcrowding – sharing images of a packed Central Line at 7.15am
Commuters continued to use the capital’s transport networks on Monday morning as the country grapples with Covid-19
The London Mayor, who is now working from home, has said Britons in the capital need to stay indoors to ‘protect the ones they love’ amid the outbreak of deadly coronavirus – which has infected 5,683 and killed 281 in the UK so far
Britain continues to grapple with the coronavirus crisis with a reduced Tube service today with Britons still commuting
Mr Brennan wrote on Twitter today: ‘Still heavy loading on some Tube lines this morning making social distancing impossible.
‘This is endangering the health of the vital workers who have to use the system.
TUBE STATIONS CLOSED TO HELP FIGHT COVID-19
As London continues to grapple with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, here are the 39 Tube stations that are closed today:
- Blackhorse Road Rail Station
- Bounds Green
- Bow Road
- Caledonian Road
- Chalk Farm
- Chancery Lane
- Charing Cross
- Clapham South
- Covent Garden
- Gloucester Road
- Goodge Street
- Great Portland Street
- Holland Park
- Hyde Park Corner
- Island Gardens DLR Station
- Kilburn Park
- Lancaster Gate
- Manor House
- Mansion House
- Mornington Crescent
- Regent’s Park
- South Wimbledon
- St. James’s Park
- Stepney Green
- Swiss Cottage
- Tufnell Park
- Warwick Avenue
‘The Government must act now to ensure only ESSENTIAL journeys are made.
‘I’m being sent pictures of crush loaded platforms at some Jubilee line platforms this morning. Drivers and other frontline staff are furious.’
Last week Mr Khan and Transport for London were branded a ‘bunch of useless idiots’ for slashing Tube services to try to stem the spiralling coronavirus crisis in the capital.
Khan said there were still ‘too many’ people using public transport, but faced a swift backlash from Londoners, who said that reducing services meant that commuters were more concentrated on the remaining trains.
As 38 Underground stations remain closed this morning, one commuter tweeted at London’s Northern Line asking where the southbound train at Colindale was, adding: ‘No sight of the train, platform is full of people, thanks for nothing!’
He posted an image of a crammed platform with commuters waiting to board the Tube train.
Another, who said she was a ‘key worker’, posted an image of a busy Piccadilly Line train saying: ‘TFL has reduced the frequency of London Underground trains, which are now busier than they should be.
‘Not much social distancing on the Piccadilly Line this morning.’
Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: ‘There is still enormous personal pressure on the Tube workforce who are exposed to levels of social contact that the Government say are unacceptable for the wider public.
‘The only people using our transport services should be essential workers who have to travel. Everyone else should stay away to protect themselves, the staff and the wider community.’
Transport for London is urging people to only travel if their journey is ‘absolutely essential’.
It has suspended the Circle line and Waterloo & City line, and reduced frequencies on other parts of the Tube network.
Bus services have also been cut.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has suggested that NHS staff could be given free parking at hospitals, which may reduce public transport passenger numbers.
He told Sky News: ‘We are looking at that, actually. I can’t make an announcement now.
‘There are complications because you have got to make sure patients are able to park, but it is something that if we can find a way to do it, I would love to.’
One Twitter user posted this image saying: ‘TFL has reduced the frequency of London Underground trains, which are now busier than they should be. Not much social distancing on the Piccadilly Line this morning. I am classed as a ‘key worker’ and rely on the Tube;
No social distancing here: Crowds of commuters are seen at Euston station (pictured left) and on the underground (right)
Commuters are seen lining up to enter a Tube train this morning as the coronavirus crisis continues to grip Britain
Pictured is a crowded Jubilee Line train to Waterloo at 6.23am on Monday morning as the nation battles the Covid-19 outbreak
Commuters are seen this morning as fears over the spread of the deadly Covid-19 continue to grow around the world
Pictures of packed Tube trains continue being posted on social media despite the increasing spread of the coronavirus.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Mr Khan was questioned on whether or not Londoners had understood how serious the situation in the capital currently is.
‘I am clear, life has changed and we have to do things differently for a while now.
‘Social interaction will spread the virus. Do shopping for elderly neighbours, only buy what you need.’
He added that people needed to practice social distancing for their vulnerable loved ones and said if people didn’t then they ‘will die’.
Marr said there had been a clear ‘change in tone’ after the government had initially allowed pubs and restaurants to continue to run before it ordered them to close on Friday night.
‘My frustration with government is that only last Monday they allowed me to attend Cobra, things are worse in London, if we don’t keep our social distance people will die. I’m working from home and others should too.’
Sadiq Khan said he was frustrated by the government as it hadn’t let him attend a cobra meeting
Asked whether or not parks and other public places should be closed, Mr Khan said people need to recognise the severity of the situation.
‘I have been lobbying the government.
‘There are instructions and rules we need to obey to stop people dying. Making sure there is no confusion or mixed messages, people should not be leaving their homes unless they have to, they can walk dogs or exercise, but mixing socially leads to more people dying.’
He added that emergency bills that will go through parliament next week will give additional powers to police in order to allow them to enforce stricter rules upon the public and social gatherings.
‘Unless people stay at home and stop using public transport then more people will die.
‘Please stop mixing and stay at home.’
He said public transport should only be used for critical workers and said his office has now implemented an ‘enhanced cleaning regime on all TfL estates’.
‘The advice at the moment is not to give them masks, if the advice changes then of course we will change this. But the NHS still don’t have what they need.
‘Stay at home unless you have good reason to leave your home, it’s important everyone works from home’.
There has been much speculation on whether or not London, a ‘city of super spreaders’ would be locked down due to the rapid spread of the virus.
Mr Khan added: ‘We are a global city, we have connectivity around the country and density. All of us need to follow the advice, we are running a weekend service during the week.
‘No one else apart from critical workers should be using public transport.’