London Underground staff were “furious” after trains remained packed on Monday morning despite passengers being urged not to travel unless they have a critical job.
Finn Brennan, district organiser for train drivers’ union Aslef, expressed alarm at services which were extremely busy despite advice aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
A constituent who is not a key worker sent me this photo this morning. He is being forced to work by his employer. This was his tube journey. I've asked Government to consider prosecuting irresponsible employers taking risks with other people's lives and our NHS. pic.twitter.com/cKfXWOZILw— Neil Coyle (@coyleneil) March 23, 2020
He wrote on Twitter: “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.
“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.”
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.”
@piersmorgan my mate has no choice but to go to work. This is what he sent. People waiting for the Central Line and on the train before. What is wrong with people!! #LockdownNow #piersmorgan pic.twitter.com/wuv3pDJj6d— Rob Bacon (@robbacon) March 23, 2020
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.”