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Tube Passenger Numbers May Have To Be Restricted Due To Social Distancing Rules

Alex Landon Alex Landon - Editor

Passenger numbers

A sweaty armpit to the face could be a thing of the past if leaked TfL guidelines are followed.

As the UK lockdown reaches the end of its sixth week and the government gets closer to releasing their exit strategy, thoughts are beginning to turn to the realities of daily life in a post-lockdown world. We’re likely to see dramatic changes in the way our society operates, and now a leaked TfL report, seen by the BBC, is hinting at a massive difference in how we use the Tube.

Specifically, a huge reduction in capacity, if the Tube is to follow social distancing guidelines. Prior to lockdown, the leaked report notes that Tube saw 325,000 passengers boarding every fifteen minutes at peak times. If the two-metre distancing guidelines being employed above ground were to follow commuters underground, that number would see a sharp decline to around 50,000 every fifteen minutes.

Passenger numbers

Even one-metre distancing would only allow 80,000 passengers every fifteen minutes, which just proves that the old strategy of having commuters packed in cheek-to-cheek is efficient, if nothing else. Clearly, any widespread return to the Tube is going to need careful planning and forethought, with Mayor Sadiq Khan pressing for the use of face masks when using public transport. Other potential solutions will include staggering journeys, and the continuation of working from home, to avoid placing too heavy a demand on the service.

Things will hopefully become clearer on Sunday, when the UK government is rumoured to be releasing our much-anticipated exit strategy, but it’s become clear that London life is going to be very different for a while.


Also published on Medium.