Thursday, 29 Oct 2020

TfL says no change is passenger numbers despite work from home push

As coronavirus infection rates continue to soar across the UK, Transport for London (TfL) have reported hardly any change in passenger numbers on public transport.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove encouraged people to ‘work from home if you can’ in an interview with Sky News on Tuesday.

However compared to last week’s figures, the number of people using buses and tubes has barely changed.

Up to 10am this morning, TfL recorded the following service levels compared to the same period last week:

  • Though tube use this morning was only at 33% of normal demand, it was down by just 0.4% from last week with 723,000 commuters using services.

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  • Santander Cycle hires in the last seven days are now 27% higher than the same seven days last year, with 62,098 more hires.
  • Bus use decreased by 0.7% compared to last week, with 968,000 commuters this morning at 57% of normal demand.

The data released by Transport for London (TfL) is based on boarding taps on buses and entry/exit taps at London Underground stations.


Gove’s comments came a day after the UK’s top scientists, Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Valance, warned on Monday that coronavirus cases were doubling with each week, and could rise to 50,000 per day by mid-October if drastic action was not taken.

The UK’s coronavirus alert level which is measured by a five-level, colour-coded system, hasnrisen from level three to four for the first time since June.

In a Government policy U-turn, Boris Johnson encouraged British workers in July to ‘go back to work if you can’ if employees were obeying government guidance and it was safe to do so.

According to data from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, the coronavirus pandemic cost the hospitality sector a titanic £2.3billion between March and June.


However, after the Prime Minister said the UK was ‘now seeing a second wave,’ he urged the public to work from home for the next six months as part of the government’s winter strategy.

He said: ‘Never in our history has our collective destiny and our collective health depended so completely on our individual behaviour. If we follow these simple rules together, we will get through this winter together.’

Even though the government encouraged people support the hospitality sector with the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, the spike in infection rates saw the government announce on Tuesday that 10pm curfews would be enforced on hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants.

The ‘rule of six’ which bans gatherings of more than six in households continues to remain in place in an effort to tackle rising infection rates.

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