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Major cuts to metro, rail and bus services were announced by Transport for London on March 18, with the operator explaining that Mayor of London Sadiq Khan had asked it to focus on enabling ‘critical workers to make essential journeys’ during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Up to 40 London Underground stations will be closed until further notice, while services on the Waterloo & City Line will be withdrawn completely from March 20. The ‘Night Tube’ and ‘Night Overground’ services that normally run on Friday and Saturday nights will also be suspended, allowing staff to be redeployed to boost the resilience of regular operations.
Services on other Underground lines, London Overground, TfL Rail, the Docklands Light Railway and London Trams will see a gradual reduction in frequency from March 23, reflecting government calls for people to minimise non-essential travel.
TfL says it is aiming to ‘provide a service for critical workers to get to where they need to’, while trying to minimise overcrowding. It will provide a 4 min headway on Underground lines within Zone 1, but warns that this may be further reduced if staff availability falls. Bus routes will be reduced to a Saturday service, but the night bus network will continue, to provide reliable travel for critical workers.
Transport Commissioner Mike Brown said ‘the advice from government is clear – people should now only be making journeys that are absolutely essential. We and our staff are doing everything we can to ensure that people who need to make essential journeys can continue to do so.’
‘London will get through these extraordinarily challenging times’, insisted Khan. ‘Ensuring the capital’s critical workers can move around the city will be crucial. I’m urging Londoners to only use public transport for essential journeys. Everyone should follow this and the other advice to help keep themselves and each other safe.’
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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