Tuesday 24 March 2020 4:44 pm

Coronavirus: Tory mayoral hopeful Shaun Bailey calls for more Tube services

Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has urged Sadiq Khan to increase Tube capacity to alleviate rush hour overcrowding.

Pictures and videos of overcrowding on Tube carriages flooded social media for the second day in a row this morning, despite the government’s new draconian restrictions.

Read more: Coronavirus: Tube could shut amid overcrowding, union warns

Khan and train drivers’ union Aslef have both been quick to blame people travelling unnecessarily for the spike in numbers, however some have blamed the cut in public transport services implemented last week.

Bailey wrote to the mayor of London today to urge him to increase the number of trains running on the London Underground for key workers.

“You’ve heard the concerns that doctors and nurses have about overcrowding on trains,” he said.

“It’s not just that they can’t keep their distance from other people – sometimes they can’t even get on the tube in the first place.

“NHS staff, police, teachers — they’re all putting themselves in harm’s way to fight this virus. The least we can do is give them a safe and timely journey to work.”

Khan dramatically cut the services on the TfL network to deal with the coronavirus crisis, which has caused an 88 per cent drop in Tube passengers and a 76 per cent drop in bus passengers.

Tube lines and bus routes are running are on a “Saturday-type service” on weekdays, with TfL running 50 per cent of the amount of trains it normally would during peak times.

Forty Tube stations have been closed and the Waterloo to City and Circle lines have been shut down.

The mayor told ITV today that it was not possible to increase the amount of public transport services as 20 per cent of TfL staff are now sick or self-isolating.

“My message is don’t use public transport unless you really have to go to work – you work in the NHS, food supply, the police.

Read more: London coronavirus lockdown: Which Tubes and buses are still operating?

“We can’t run Tubes, trains or buses that are unsafe.

“That includes critical staff who we need to ensure public transport runs well. Some of the people on the tube today and yesterday aren’t essential workers.”