Fury as key workers are forced to wait 20 MINUTES to cram on to London’s packed Tube trains AGAIN – Daily Mail

Fury as key workers are forced to wait 20 MINUTES to cram on to London’s packed Tube trains AGAIN – Daily Mail

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told MPs today that it is possible to ‘run a better Tube system at the moment’ as Sadiq Khan sparked fury and defied the Prime Minister by warning that Tube services will be cut back even further.  

The PM has told the Mayor of London to add more trains but London’s Tube network is packed again with Mr Khan accused of ‘risking lives’ after slashing number of trains at a time of national emergency.  

Today one in three of TfL staff are ill or in self-isolation – including large numbers of drivers and customer-facing workers – with the sickness figures appearing to be disproportionately higher than among frontline workers in the NHS, police and fire services. Some have blamed the strength of the Tube unions and their threat to pull away members for the high level of staff absence.

MailOnline can reveal that during rush hour today some London Underground lines are currently only running one train every twenty minutes, when it should be one every three to  five minutes, causing more crammed conditions in ‘death trap’ carriages and on heaving platforms. 

As Britain started its second day of mass self-isolation today, it also emerged: 

  • London is on a trajectory for a worse coronavirus outbreak than Lombardy in Italy with deaths doubling every two days and it could run out of intensive care beds by the end of the week;
  • Parliament is shutting early tonight ‘until further notice’;
  • Coronavirus could have infected as much as half of the population of the United Kingdom, according to researchers at the University of Oxford;
  • FTSE 100 opens up 2% by 108 to 5,555 points after record day of trading yesterday as world markets seesaw;

London Underground tube passengers try to squeeze onto a carriage on the Central Line at White City this morning with services set to become even less frequent, according to underfire Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

MailOnline reader Wayne Alexander, who works for Network 

London’s Tube network is busy again today as Sadiq Khan blamed staff sickness for the severely reduced timetable

Commuters crammed on to the Central Line at Leytonstone this morning – where there was only one train every 15 minutes – when it would usually be around every three minutes 

A commuter in a gas mask waits for a Tube train as Sadiq Khan said it was not possible to run anything but a reduced service

Platforms are also packed with people who have no choice but to travel having been classed as key workers

There is mounting anger among NMHS workers who insist TFL can and must do more to ensure key workers get to work safely throughout the crisis

‘Contamination is rife’: Boris Johnson faces growing pressure to shut building sites

Workers in a cramped canteen at the Hinkley Point C site in Somerset

Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to stop non-essential construction workers heading to building sites as Britain attempts to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

The Prime Minister has faced calls across the political spectrum for more stringent rules so workers are not placed at risk, and public transport is not overwhelmed.

Mr Johnson, who will appear before MPs today for Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, has so far resisted the pressure.

But Conservative former cabinet minister Sir Iain Duncan Smith joined the demands for a rethink, after doubts were also raised by Nicola Sturgeon and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that plumbers, electricians and other tradesmen are still allowed to carry out routine work in people’s homes despite the dramatic lockdown announced on Monday. 

Pictures shared on social media today show workers sitting beside one another in a cramped canteen at the Hinkley Point C site in Somerset.  

As deaths in the capital doubled, the Mayor of London is facing mounting fury and pressure to restore services to normal levels with some NHS workers claiming they are now more worried about travelling to work than treating coronavirus patients in hospital.

But in a statement Mayor Khan this morning revealed more train services will go and said: ‘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.’.

There were grim scenes on the Tube again today where commuters with no choice but to go to work were faced to stand nose-to-nose with strangers on teeming trains.

Key worker Tony Drew tweeted: ‘No-one is listening to you and don’t need to reduce the service as much as you have. You need to get more trains on and stop putting the lives of key workers like me at risk’.

Kate Mat wrote: ‘I have zero respect for Sadiq & TFL! Are they really blind or just heartless??! They are putting key workers life in danger!!!! Nurses, doctors and other key workers can’t practice social distancing on cramped tubes!’  

A senior nurse named Danny posted on Twitter: ‘Another busy tube. Can we not stagger people’s start times so we aren’t all squashed on the same tube! This is unsafe and not fair!’, and Barry Trimble, whose work involves ensuring cancer patients receive chemotherapy, posted: ‘The Tube is packed, with social distancing impossible. We need more people to stay at home and more trains running in morning and evening peak.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said last night there is ‘no good reason’ Tube services have been slashed and Boris Johnson also questioned why up to three quarters of services had been axed in a call with Mr Khan yesterday,

Commuters have today vented their fury at the lack of trains, with one tweeting Mr Khan this morning with the plea: ‘You are herding key workers into a smaller space. 

‘Your decision is a difficult one but is directly risking lives. Please rethink this for our health workers so they can at least feel safe going to work’. 

Another NHS worker said: ‘Please sort the tubes out, this is risking lives. Emergency workers have to use TFL! Help now’.

Today 500 police officers were deployed at major stations to remind passengers that only those making essential journeys for work should be using the Tube and trains – but huge numbers have no choice but to head to work again today.

Today 500 police officers were deployed at major stations to remind passengers that only those making essential journeys for work should be using the Tube and trains

Mother of premature baby says she is worried about taking the Tube to visit her son in hospital in as chef and waitress struggle to travel amid Underground chaos

A special needs teacher told MailOnline he has quit work because of the dangers of contracting coronavirus while travelling on packed tubes, while the mother of a premature baby has revealed that she was worried about taking the Tube but had little choice if she wanted to visit her newly arrived son in hospital. 

Mary Selassie, 42, was taking the underground from Ealing Broadway to Westminster, the closest station to St Thomas’ hospital in South London where her son Elhan is being treated in a specialist intensive care unit after being born three months early. The journey takes around an hour.

She told MailOnline: ‘I need the underground at this time because without it I would not be able to spend time with my son. I’ve been doing this journey for the past three weeks and in the last few days the service has not been as regular. I don’t understand why they are reducing the number of trains because it just means that we have to wait for longer.

‘Many other people are in the same difficult position as me. They’re getting the tube because they have to. Of course I’m worried because there’s a very high chance that I could become infected using public transport and then I definitely would not be able to see my baby. This is just adding to my stress.’ 

Edvaldo DaSilva, 42, said he had tried and failed to find space to board the underground on Monday and Tuesday and today decided to stay at home. 

Mr DaSilva said: ‘I normally leave my home at Bethnal green and take the tube at around 7 am. ‘ Last week it was fine and I was able to get on to the trains. ‘ 

But on Monday and Tuesday it was impossible because their were less trains running than before. 

‘The platform was packed and the trains took about 15 minutes to arrive and then I couldn’t get on. I looked at everybody on the trains and I thought ‘they’re breathing all over each other. This is so dangerous’. 

‘We are supposed to be keeping two meters from people and now that they are less trains, people are being pushed together even more and it’s dangerous for our health. 

‘I saw passengers with their faces stuck next to others and it was terrible. It just needs one person on the train to have coronavirus and everybody is at risk.’ 

Mr DaSilva, who works at the Riverside School in Wood Green, added: ‘This is not acceptable. It’s really hard for me because I teach vulnerable young people life skills and I must be allowed to do my job. 

‘But my boss understands and now the government needs to understand. These tube trains are very dangerous for everyone staff and passengers. Something has to be done. 

‘They need to put new trains on or restrict people travelling. It’s so dangerous and opposite to what we are being told by the Government. I feel very sorry for those people who have to ride on those tubes so closely together. It is not right.’

Ana Gomes, 40 and Carlos Maestu, 51 were taking the central line from Ealing Broadway to West Acton following a shopping trip to a supermarket.

Ms Gomes, a waitress who is currently at home after the restaurant she works in closed, said: ‘We don’t want to get the tube, but we have to. The nearest supermarket to us is here in Ealing Broadway. Both of us are taking all the precautions we can, we’d rather not use public transport but what else are we supposed to do?

Spaniard Mr Maestu, a chef, who is also at home following the closure of the central London restaurant he works in added: ‘In Spain the lockdown is much tougher than in Britain. If you ask me, they need to shut down all public transport except to essential workers because there are still too many people out and about.

‘If they did close the tube it would be a big problem for me, but you can’t just think about yourself in a time like this.’

Ernesta Juskatie, 38, a dental nurse revealed that she was taking the underground to get to work.

She added: ‘The practice where I work is still open, so I don’t have much choice. When I’m on the underground, I don’t sit, and I don’t touch anything. I know that might not be enough to stop me getting infected but I’m doing all that I can.

‘Personally, I hope they close the whole network down, except for those who really need to get to work, like NHS staff. That way I would have no choice but to stay at home.’

Kim Black, 48, a child protection social worker from Oxford said that she was taking the underground to Paddington to catch a train to her home.

She added: ‘This is my last day at work and then I’ll be working from home. I just came into London to collect a laptop from my work and sort out some paperwork.

‘It’s actually quite pleasant commuting from Oxford at the moment because normally, you don’t even get a seat. The underground needs to keep going; there needs to be an increased service, not a decreased one because there are a lot of people who still need to use it.’  

Coronavirus UK: New lockdown measures in full

Boris Johnson tonight announced a lockdown plan to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the UK as he told the nation to stay at home. 

People will only be allowed to leave their home for the following ‘very limited’ purposes:

Shopping for basic necessities as infrequently as possible.

One form of exercise a day.

Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. 

Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary. 

Meanwhile, the PM has announced a ban on: 

Meeting with friends. 

Meeting with family members you do not live with. 

All weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies but excluding funerals. 

All gatherings of more than two people in public.  

The PM said the police will have the powers to enforce the lockdown measures through fines and dispersing gatherings. 

To ensure people comply the government is also: 

Closing all shops selling non-essential goods. 

Closing all libraries, playground,  outdoor gyms and places of worship.

Parks will remain open for exercise, but will be patrolled.  

Mr Khan has blamed commuters for flouting a ban on ‘all non-essential travel’ and urged people to avoid rush hour ‘to save lives’ – claiming he does not have enough staff to return services to normal.   

Mr Hancock went on the attack as he was asked at a Downing Street press conference this evening why NHS staff and other key workers were being forced to put themselves at risk on crowded transport.

He said: ‘When it comes to the Tube, the first and the best answer is that Transport for London should have the Tube running in full so that people travelling on the tube are spaced out and can be further apart – obeying the two-metre rule wherever possible.

‘And there is no good reason in the information that I’ve seen that the current levels of tube provision should be as low as they are. We should have more tube trains running.’

Earlier, commuters packed in like sardines hit back at the Mayor, who runs the capital’s public transport network, with one victim claiming it was about saving money, tweeting: ‘Using the pandemic to save a few pennies. Nice work helping the people you claim to represent’. Another Londoner wrote: ‘Utter disgrace. We need professional leadership at this time’.

Sharing a horrifying picture of a packed Tube train this morning, NHS sonographer Nicola Smith tweeted: ‘I love my job, but now I’m risking my health just on the journey in?! @SadiqKhan put the tube service back to normal so we can all spread out, or @BorisJohnson start policing who’s getting on. Help me!’. After completing her journey to the Imperial College NHS Trust in west London, she said: ‘I worry for my health more on my commute than actually being in the hospital.’

And there is continuing confusion over who qualifies as a key worker, especially among London‘s army of builders, meaning most had no choice but to ride the busy trains to work and run the terrifying risk of catching coronavirus, which has claimed 422 lives so far in the UK.

Boris Johnson also raised concerns about cutbacks in London Underground services with the capital’s Mayor in a calland is said to have asked him to put on more trains. His Downing Street spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister raised with the mayor the issue of reduced services on the tube and its impact on people trying to get to work’. 

British Transport Police has said its officers will stop non-essential workers travelling on the Tube. A spokesman said the force would ‘ensure that only those making essential journeys for work are using the Tube and rail network’, adding: ‘Our officers will be on hand to support rail operators if people are clearly disregarding the advice’.

Tube trains were packed again today despite the Government’s unprecedented lockdown that started just hours earlier to save lives and take pressure off the NHS

Boris Johnson’s coronavirus lockdown backed by 93 PER CENT of the public – poll finds

Boris Johnson‘s coronavirus lockdown is backed by 93 per cent of Britons, according to a poll today.

But in a potentially worrying sign for the PM, two-thirds believe that the extraordinary curbs will be easy to obey. 

The announcement by the PM last night mean that everyone must stay inside unless it is absolutely essential.

Gatherings of more than two people have been banned in the most dramatic restrictions on freedom ever seen in Britain in time of peace or war. 

But research by YouGov shows the measures have overwhelming endorsement from the public,

Hours after the PM said almost all Britons should should stay at home in the most draconian shutdown in modern history, people were nose-to-nose on the Tube, trains and buses despite being told to be two metres apart to avoid exposure to the killer virus.  

To stem the terrifying number of deaths, gatherings of more than two people are now banned and people must only leave their homes for essential supplies, medical help, or to travel to work if it is ‘absolutely’ unavoidable. Going out for exercise is allowed once a day as long as people stay two metres apart to stop the NHS collapsing under the strain of new cases.

But transport union TSSA today called for police to be deployed to make sure only key workers are getting on trains amid claims Tube staff could walk out unless ID checks start immediately because of ‘dangerous’ conditions at London stations. 

General secretary Manuel Cortes said: ‘Sadly, the situation on the London Underground has not improved. We urgently need British Transport Police and other officers at major stations across London’s transport network to ensure only those with a valid reason to travel are doing so in this emergency’.  

Mr Khan’s office hit back at Mr Hancock’s claim there was ‘no good reason’ not to have more frequent services on the Underground tonight.

A spokeswoman for the Mayor said: ‘This is simply not true. The Mayor has told ministers countless times over recent days that TfL simply cannot safely run a full service because of the levels of staff sickness and self-isolation.

‘Nearly a third of staff are already absent – there aren’t enough drivers and control staff to do it.

‘The Government must act urgently to get more people staying at home rather than going to work unnecessarily – that means taking the difficult decisions they are refusing to take to ban non-essential construction work and provide proper financial support to freelancers, the self-employed and those on zero-hours contracts to stay at home.’ 

Mr Khan has demanded that employers enable their staff to work from home ‘unless it’s absolutely necessary’ and avoid rush hour if they can’t, adding: ‘Ignoring these rules means more lives lost. Some of the people on the Tube yesterday and today are not essential workers, I can tell you that’.

But there is ongoing confusion caused by Boris Johnson’s long list of key workers – with many packed on to trains appearing to be labourers legitimately heading to building sites in London after housing secretary Robert Jenrick tweeted last night: ‘If you are working on site, you can continue to do so.’    

There are growing calls for police to be deployed at all main underground and overground stations to make sure only key workers are getting on trains (BTP officers pictured in Bristol today)

What major world cities have the lowest proportion of people moving around compared to normal? 

Data from Citymapper Mobility Index 

Confusion as shop and office workers are told to stay home amid coronavirus lockdown but builders and delivery drivers can carry on 

The government has come under pressure to urgently clarify who it counts as a ‘key worker’ after Britons woke up in a state of lockdown confusion.

Last night in his historic address to the nation, Boris Johnson ordered the public to stay at home unless travelling to work was ‘absolutely necessary’. 

It was wrapped into an emergency package of draconian measures to keep people indoors to stem the tide of coronavirus infection, which threatens to overwhelm the NHS.

But the wriggle room left by the Prime Minister over exactly who was allowed to travel was seized upon by many workers who continued to commute to their jobs this morning.

Construction workers were seen operating in close proximity, causing head-scratching over why they were continuing to work while most of the country was forced to hunker down at home.

Responding to claims that details of the lockdown were ‘murky’, Michael Gove, the minister for the cabinet office, said: ‘It is the case that construction should continue on sites.

‘People should obviously exercise sensitivity and common sense and follow social distancing measures. But construction sites carried out in the open air can continue’. 

And Nicola Sturgeon and Sadiq Khan fanned further confusion when they advised construction workers to stay at home. 

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said it has closed its construction sites, show homes and sale sites due to coronavirus.

The company said it has a ‘large order-book and quality long-term landbank’ which provides it with increased resilience.

It said UK operations have ‘only been meaningfully impacted in very recent days’ while its smaller Spanish operations have been disrupted by a nationwide shutdown. Earlier on Tuesday, competitor Redrow said its sites remain open with ‘strict precautions in place including enhanced levels of cleaning, additional hygiene facilities and social distancing’.

The Department for Transport is identifying those lines that need more trains. It said: ‘We are aware of some instances of overcrowding on certain train services this morning, and are working with operators regarding capacity on specific lines as needed to make sure there is space to be safe.’

C2C, which runs commuter services between Essex and London, is thought to have been identified as a line in need of increased capacity.

Passenger watchdog Transport Focus said: ‘The Government should continue to review what measures are needed to make sure social distancing on trains services is safe.’

The RMT union said: ‘We know that many people who are not traditionally employed, whether they are self-employed, on zero-hour contracts or in the gig economy, feel they have no choice but to go to work because of their financial situation. We therefore call on the Government to do far more to help these workers.’

Vernon Everitt of TfL said: ‘To save lives, everyone must follow the Government and Mayor’s instructions to stay at home and only travel if absolutely essential. Only critical workers should be using public transport, and no one else.’

The Prime Minister’s shutdown will last for a minimum of three weeks and the UK’s new state of emergency is unprecedented in modern history. 

Gatherings of more than two people will be banned in the most dramatic curbs on freedom ever seen in Britain in time of peace or war, as the government goes all out to stop the spread of the killer disease.

In a grim address to the nation from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: ‘Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses’, adding: ‘I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home’.

He said any family reunions, weddings, baptisms and other social events must be cancelled to stop the NHS collapsing under the strain. Funerals can go ahead attended by just a handful of closest relatives.

People must only leave their homes for essential supplies, medical help, or to travel to work if it is ‘absolutely’ unavoidable. Going out for exercise will be allowed once a day, but parks will be patrolled to make sure there is no abuse of the rules. 

Police will have powers to fine those who do not fall into line, and disperse any public gatherings, in measures to curb movement only seen during the Second World War. Historians have claimed you have to go back to 1666 to find when people were last forced to stay at home en masse, when Britons had to stay at home for 40 days to halt the spread of the Great Plague. 

The PM was finally forced into the draconian move amid fury that many people are still flouting ‘social distancing’ guidance, with parks and Tube trains in London – regarded as the engine of the UK outbreak – still busy despite repeated pleas.  

‘Though huge numbers are complying – and I thank you all – the time has now come for us all to do more,’ Mr Johnson said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here