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Coronavirus: Commuters criticise London mayor over packed Tubes

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
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Sadiq Khan has come under further criticism from Londoners unhappy at the lack of space on the capital's public transport network amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Dozens of passengers tweeted their frustration at their inability to follow government guidance to keep two metres away from others to slow the spread of the illness.

A packed carriage full of passengers travelling on the Victoria line of the London Underground tube network, after Boris Johnson ordered pubs and restaurants across the country to close tonight as the Government announced unprecedented measures to cover the wages of workers who would otherwise lose their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak.
There have been ongoing concerns about the amount of people travelling on the London Underground. (PA)

Khan has been at odds with the government over the Tube network, which is operating at around 50% of its normal capacity during peak times.

The London mayor tweeted that "we cannot run more services" as a third of Transport for London (TfL) staff are off sick or self-isolating – but Boris Johnson told MPs on Wednesday it should be possible to "run a better Tube system”.

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London mayor Sadiq Khan at the launch of his re-election campaign, at the Rose Lipman Building in north London. Picture date: Tuesday March 3, 2020. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
London mayor Sadiq Khan has come under fire for the level of crowding on some Tube lines. (PA)

Passengers described “packed” services, claiming TfL staff were not managing crowds in line with government guidance on social distancing.

Patricia Pereira posted: "Jubilee line service packed, Waterloo station escalators out of use forcing people to use the ones that are working and be extremely near.

"Three TfL staff by gate line talking, no one manage the crowd (or) helping on social distancing!"

She added: "I am a key worker, I don't want to get ill!"

Others also vented their frustrations at the mayor directly:

However, some passengers stated that their Tube journeys were quieter than normal on Thursday:

Issuing travel advice, Khan tweeted: ”Employers: staff must work from home wherever possible to help protect our key workers who need to travel.

"If you have to go to work, please don't travel at rush hour #COVID19.”

Figures from TfL show that passenger numbers on Wednesday morning were down 92% compared with the same day last year.

Speaking on Thursday morning, Khan said that early-morning Tube use on Thursday was down 13% on the previous day, while bus use was down 8% over the same period.

He tweeted: “Thank you to all Londoners who are following the rules and staying home.

“The more we stay at home the more lives we can save.”

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