Last updated: 25 March 2020
Statement on coronavirus (COVID-19)
Message from the Mayor on transport usage
I’d like to thank all Londoners who have followed the rules today and stayed at home. TfL’s early-morning data suggests that Tube travel is down by an additional third compared to yesterday and bus travel down by an additional 20 per cent. Tube ridership was already 88 per cent down yesterday compared to the same day last year and bus ridership 76 per cent down.
However, we still need more Londoners to do the right thing and stay at home. Nearly a third of TfL’s staff are now off sick or self-isolating – including train drivers and crucial control centre staff. Many of them have years of safety-critical training in order to run specific lines – so it is simply not possible to replace them with others.
TfL will do everything possible to continue safely running a basic service for key workers including our amazing NHS staff, but if the number of TfL staff off sick or self-isolating continues to rise – as we sadly expect it will – we will have no choice but to reduce services further.
TfL are taking targeted measures to control the flow of passengers at the stations that remain the busiest. This includes reducing the flow at the gate lines with the support of the 500 British Transport Police who are now deployed across the rail network, opening different routes to platforms and turning off down escalators to slow the flow of people to platforms.
We have worked with national rail services to ensure some trains do not stop at the busiest London Underground interchanges at peak times. The reduction in services by national rail services on Monday meant that there was increased overcrowding for short periods of times as passengers arrived on fewer trains.
TfL have also emailed 4.5 million passengers telling them not to use public transport unless absolutely necessary, and have increased signage and public announcements at key stations – including translating them into 13 languages.
It remains the case that too many of the people using TfL services at the busiest times work in construction. I repeat my call on the Government to ban non-safety construction work during this period, as TfL did yesterday. We also urgently need more financial support for the self-employed, freelancers and those in insecure work. In the absence of Government action, we are working with the Construction Leadership Council to try and spread the start times of work on the biggest sites in London.
Finally, I would like to give my immense personal gratitude to every single member of TfL staff. You are doing our country a great service at this time of national emergency by ensuring our NHS staff and other key workers are able to get to work and save lives.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan
Message from the Mayor following the PM's urgent announcement
I welcome these new rules and am directly asking all Londoners to follow them at all times in order to save lives.
These rules are not optional. They are instructions put in place to prevent the spread of this virus. You must follow them.
Everyone must now stay at home apart from shopping for basic necessities as infrequently as possible, doing one form of exercise a day, medical needs, or travelling to and from work when it is truly necessary and cannot be done from home.
All non-essential retail will now be closed, as will places of worship and other communal places such as libraries and playgrounds. Gatherings of more than two people, apart from of your household, will be banned.
Anyone who knows me, knows my liberal instincts, and I do not take this lightly – but these unprecedented circumstances require extraordinary measures.
I would again call on all Londoners to avoid all social contact. Work from home if you possibly can. Don’t use public transport unless you absolutely have to. Only go out to buy basic necessities or exercise once a day. Keep at least two metres distance between you and anyone else at all times. Look out for the elderly and vulnerable. Don’t buy any more food than you need.
Please follow the rules to stop more people dying.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan
Links to advice and information
- For regularly updated health information and advice visit the NHS website.
- If you are a business owner or employer, or a professional helping people in the education, transport and other sectors, you can access advice and guidance.
- If you or someone you know are self-isolating read the NHS Stay at home advice.
- For more information, advice and guidance visit our coronavirus advice and guidance hub.