Even with recent changes to social distancing guidelines, the number of people that London’s transport network can safely carry continues to be significantly constrained. As the Government has set out, people should continue to work from home if they can and reduce pressure on the public transport and road network by walking or cycling if possible and by shopping locally. Those customers who do need to use public transport are asked to continue to avoid travelling during the peak times of 05:45–08:15 and 16:00–17:30 if they can. There is more available capacity outside of those times.
Customers will experience a different transport network to the one they were used to before the pandemic, with services continuing to operate differently to enable safe journeys and social distancing.
New signage, posters and platform stickers have been installed across the network, helping everyone to maintain social distancing. One-way systems and queuing arrangements will be in use wherever needed and hundreds of hand sanitising points have been installed across the TfL network for everyone to use. Everyone should wash or sanitise their hands at the beginning and at the end of their journey and carry hand sanitiser with them if they can.
Customers are reminded that they now must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth for their entire journey, including in stations, unless they are exempt. Exemptions include people who have trouble breathing, children under the age of eleven and anyone who finds it difficult to manage them correctly. Face coverings should also be worn by everyone in taxi and private hire vehicles for the duration of their journey.
To support those customers who are exempt from wearing a face covering, TfL has introduced an exemption card that customers can print off and carry with them or display on their phone, which they can show if they are asked why they aren’t wearing one. This can be found here.
Customers are reminded to treat everyone with respect and compassion, and to understand that some people are unable to wear a face covering for medical reasons that may not be immediately obvious. Transport staff are not required to wear a face covering when they are not in public areas, including Tube and bus drivers when they are in the driver's cab, staff working in control centres or in maintenance areas.
TfL has been helping Londoners adjust to the new rules by temporarily distributing face coverings at targeted Tube and bus stations, as well as providing advice on how customers can make their own. Since 8 June around 264,000 face coverings have been distributed during the morning peak.
People making journeys are urged to take the most direct route and avoid busy interchanges. Anyone travelling to a central London mainline station is asked to walk or cycle for the remainder of their journey if they can. TfL has also published a list of the busiest stations and bus areas to help people avoid hotspots and maintain social distancing. This can be found here.
Mike Brown MVO, London's Transport Commissioner, said: “Even with the recent changes to social distancing guidelines, the number of people we can safely carry on the transport network will still be limited. As the Government guidelines have set out, people should continue to work from home if they can, shop locally and avoid public transport where possible to create space for those who need to use it. Please consider walking or cycling all or part of your journey if you can.
“Some customers may be returning to the network for the first time since the pandemic and I ask them to please help keep things safe by avoiding the peak times, wearing a face covering that covers your nose and mouth for your entire journey, and acting on the instructions of our staff who are there to help. With everyone’s cooperation we can keep the network safe for everyone.”
To make it easier for people to walk and cycle and prevent the number of cars causing congestion, TfL and the Mayor continue to deliver the Streetspace for London programme - in partnership with London’s boroughs - to create extra space for cycling and walking across the capital.
Temporary changes are being made to roads to support safe walking and cycling and enable social distancing. So far, 32 Streetspace schemes have been completed on the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN), creating 13,055m² of extra pedestrian space and 5.3km of extra cycling space. An additional 7.6km of new or upgraded cycling space has been delivered to date on borough roads and TfL is working closely with boroughs across London to quickly deliver further schemes with more than £24m awarded to 30 boroughs for walking and cycling schemes.
TfL recently announced it would be expanding the Santander Cycles scheme to keep up with growing demand. Wednesday 24 June saw 51,938 Santander Cycle hires – the first time there has been more than 50,000 hires on a normal working day. TfL is making 1,700 more Santander Cycle bikes available, bringing the total to more than 14,000. Eight new docking stations are also being installed this summer to ensure more people than ever have access to the bikes.
The number of cycle journeys made across London has dramatically increased in recent weeks, particularly at weekends as people cycling for leisure journeys. The weekend of 20-21 June saw an increase of 151 per cent compared to the same weekend last year, with cycling across the week up by 26 per cent.
TfL has been engaging with the leisure and hospitality industry ahead of its reopening and working hard to increase its service levels. It is now operating 94 per cent of peak weekday services on the Tube and 94 per cent of bus services.
Ahead of a further relaxation of Government restrictions, which will see more businesses and venues reopen on 4 July, Transport for London (TfL) is reminding customers what to expect if they are starting to travel again for the first time since lockdown.